Chris Paul: Point Guard, Activist, Union Boss

Here is David Gelles’ profile of Chris Paul for The New York Times. To read the complete article and check out others, please click here.

Credit: Erik Tanner for The New York Times

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CP3 plays many roles in the N.B.A. Besides being the starting point guard for the Rockets, he is an outspoken voice on social issues, and leads the player union.

Ever since Chris Paul joined the National Basketball Association in 2005, drafted fourth out of Wake Forest, he has been near the center of the action.

He won the rookie of the year award in 2006, was named most valuable player at the 2013 All-Star Game, and was a star for both the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers. This season, Mr. Paul — known as CP3, for his jersey number — teamed up with James Harden on the Houston Rockets, creating a fearsome duo that has led their team deep into the playoffs.

Over the years, Mr. Paul’s roles and responsibilities around the league have expanded. He is outspoken on social issues, joining LeBron James and other stars in a moving protest against police shootings at the 2016 ESPY Awards. And since 2013, he has served as president of the National Basketball Players Association, the league’s union for players.

One of the highest-paid athletes in the world, Mr. Paul is now building his own business empire. He has invested in Wtrmln Wtr, which makes cold-pressed watermelon juice, and Muzik, which makes high-end headphones. And he recently founded a media company, Oh Dipp Productions, which produced a documentary for ESPN about his decision to join the Rockets.

This interview, which was condensed and edited for clarity, was conducted in New York.

What was your first job?

I worked at my granddad’s service station every summer from the time I was 7 or 8 years old. My granddad was everything. He had the first African-American-owned service station in North Carolina. In high school, if I wanted some money to buy something, wanted Jordans, my granddad, would say, “Come work at the service station. Earn it.”

When did you know you were going to have a career as a player?

When I went to college, they already had a starting point guard. Then he had an appendectomy a week and a half before our first game of the season. First game comes, we play at Madison Square Garden against Memphis, coach told me I was starting. We win the game, we go to the second game. Coach says, “Since you started, you’ll start again.” The rest is history.

How did you prepare for the N.B.A.?

I made my biggest jump between when I declared for the draft and my rookie year, that summer. I worked out for about two months by myself, it was the hardest training I’ve ever done. Then on draft night, a commentator said that I was going to be too small to play in the N.B.A. That’s all I needed to hear. I’ve always loved to be the underdog. That just pushes me.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

David Gelles writes the Corner Office column and other features for The New York Times’s Sunday Business section, and works with the Well team to expand The Times‘s coverage of meditation.

To learn more about him and his work, please click here.


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