Chris Paul – Get to know the Phoenix Suns standout guard with 10 interesting facts about his life and career.
After 15 seasons, point guard Chris Paul has established himself as one of the best players of all time.
Tobacco street roots: Chris Paul rose to national prominence as a senior at West Forsyth High School in Clemens, N.C., when he scored 61 points in a game dedicated to his grandfather, who had been killed earlier that year. . Paul’s grandfather was 61 years old, so he used to get a place for all the years that his grandfather lived, he used to sit on his family’s side after they had put the last basket on the couch. One of the nation’s top prep point guards, he was a McDonald’s All-American and earned First Team Parade All-American honors. Paul chose to stay home and attend nearby Wake Forest College for college.
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Outstanding Demon Deacon: Paul’s reputation as a tough competitor — especially for his small size (6 feet, 175 pounds) — was enhanced in his two seasons in a Demon Deacon uniform. His no-nonsense approach (competitors will call it “dirty”) stands out in a crowded field of quality point guards in every conference and across the country. As a freshman, he was named the ACC Rookie of the Year and led his team to the NCAA Tournament. He earned consensus first-team All-American honors his second season, leading Wake Forest back to the Big Dance. He declared for the 2005 draft and averaged 15.3 points, 6.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game in 2004–05, his final collegiate season. Wake Forest retired the No. 3 jersey on March 2, 2011.
Rookie Focus: The New Orleans Hornets selected Paul with the fourth pick in the 2005 draft and he wasted little time establishing himself as the top player in his class. Even though the Hornets were displaced by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and forced to play most of their games in Oklahoma City, Paul’s arrival ignited basketball in both cities. In the 2005–06 season, he led all rookies in points, assists, steals and double-doubles and finished a ballot that included unanimous Rookie of the Year honors. His friend and longtime rival for the top young guard honor, Deron Williams, received the only other first-ballot vote. But Paul just started his season as the first point guard in the entire league.
From star to celebrity: Paul’s first two seasons as a starter led him to the pitch in his third season (2007-08), this time in front of hometown fans in New Orleans. He led the Hornets from the lottery to the top tier of the Western Conference standings, where they moved to the top spot after a victory against the Chicago Bulls on March 17, 2008. The Hornets finished the season with a franchise record. 56 and the No. 2 spot in the final. Paul finished third in MVP voting and made the All-Defensive Team. He averaged 21.2 ppg and led the league with 11.6 apg and 2.7 spg. Paul ripped through the Dallas Mavericks for 35 points in his playoff debut, and in Game 2 he set a franchise playoff record with 17 assists. He paced the Mavericks in Game 5 with 24 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds. .The Hornets were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in the next round, but Paul’s words had already been spoken.
Trouble in the Big Easy: Paul’s tenure in New Orleans was filled with career highs and lows, down times due to unexpected injuries and the sudden firing of coach Byron Scott after a slow start to the 2009-10 season. Paul thinks the front office should have talked to him before making the decision. It became a wound that never healed as Paul continued to play outstanding basketball. In his final full season with the Hornets (2010–11), he led them to the playoffs and appeared in a first-round playoff series against Kobe Bryant and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. He scored 33 points, 14 assists and four steals in Game 1 and 27 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds in Game 2 for the Lakers. He averaged 22 ppg, 11.5 apg, 6.7 rpg and 1.8 spg in the series, his postseason swan song in a Hornets uniform.
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Leader of ‘Lob City’: Paul was originally chosen to be a point guard for another team in Los Angeles. On December 8, 2011, the Hornets agreed to a three-way deal that would send Paul to the Lakers. But then-Hornets owner and then manager David Stern pulled a deal that would have combined Paul and Kobe Bryant in the back of a famous company. Instead of joining the Lakers, Paul joined the Clippers, in the “Lob City” era. Young superstars Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are getting beautiful pointers from Paul. The Clippers rode it to the first consecutive franchise tie in LA history. Paul finished his first season with the Clippers with a league-best 19.8 ppg, 9.1 apg and 2.5 spg, becoming the first Clipper to receive first-team honors. With both and Griffin taking all the honors, the Clippers led a postseason charge that ended against the Spurs in the conference finals.
Houston Experience: After six eventful (but fruitless) seasons with the Clippers, Paul’s next attempt to break the championship lead in the West came with a reunion with James Harden. Houston’s mad scientist, Darrell Murray, decided that two starting point guards are better than one. It seems to have paid off as Houston has the championship Golden State Warriors on the ropes after taking a 3-2 lead in the 2018 West Finals. That’s when Paul suffered a right hamstring injury that took him out of the series. The Warriors went on to win Games 6 and 7 and went on to win their second straight title. The Rockets had another shot at the Warriors in the 2019 Western Conference finals, only to suffer a meltdown after the Warriors lost two-time reigning MVP Kevin Durant to a calf injury in Game 5. They finished in six games. Then on July 16, 2019, Poole was traded again, this time to Oklahoma City in a blockbuster deal for former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook.
Advocacy and Activism: Paul rose as a leader on and off the court for his vision enhanced by his rise as President of the National Basketball Players Association. He was elected president in 2013, after four years on the executive board, and was re-elected in 2017 for another four years. He was a key figure in the suspension of Clippers owner Donald Sterling after making racist comments. Sterling made a move in 2014, threatening the possible withdrawal of his club if Sterling was allowed to remain as owner. He was instrumental in appointing Michael Roberts as Executive Director of the NBPA. His status in the biggest fashion is illuminated by the advocacy work he brings with his good friends and fellow stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. The four stood shoulder-to-shoulder on stage at the 2016 ESPYs to make a statement about the Black Lives Matter movement and a powerful call to action for the other athletes in the room.
Paul’s passion for other football: If it wasn’t for his basketball career, Paul might have pursued his athletic pursuits in bowling. Paul, who is a passionate and professional footballer, is not just a football enthusiast. He has a franchise in the League Bowlers Association (PBA) called L.A.X. and host and participate in many celebrity and youth bowling shows. He is also the spokesperson of the United Nations Bowling Conference. His CP3 Foundation, which supports programs in Louisiana affected by Hurricane Katrina, and charities in his hometown of Winston-Salem, are the biggest beneficiaries of the foundation’s philanthropic efforts. Paul also owns a small stake in the Winston-Salem Dash, a small-town baseball team he bought in 2018.
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Career comes full circle: Poole begins the 2019-20 season in the same place his career began: Oklahoma City. It’s a coincidence of timing, with the league’s highest-profile players circling the free agent landscape in the summer of 2019. But Paul’s legacy as one of the greatest point guards the game has ever seen is set in stone. He is a surefire future Hall of Famer. He ranks third on the assists per game list behind Magic Johnson and John Stockton. He holds the record for most consecutive games with a steal (108) and is the only player in history to lead the league in assists and steals for two straight seasons. A nine-time All-Star, Paul was All-Defensive eight times
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