As Gerald Wallace walks into Time Warner Cable Arena on Friday, a Charlotte Bobcats employee approaches to say hello. But she begins to cry.

"There's a lot of emotion," Wallace says.

Professional sports are a business. We know that. We also know that without emotion, they're nothing more. A city falls for certain teams and certain players, and Charlotte fell for Wallace.

The Bobcats traded him to Portland on Feb.24.

Until the trade, Wallace, 28, had been in Charlotte as long as the team. He was angered and hurt by the trade, and by being misled by management, and has said so consistently.

Wallace returns Friday for a game between his new team and his old one. That's him in the visitors' locker room, resplendent red jersey hanging behind him. He's accustomed to the big locker room.

"The chairs aren't as comfortable," he says about his new digs. "The lockers are a lot smaller. It's not the same atmosphere."

And then it is.