Chris Paul’s expressed intent to hang up his Hornets jersey for good last 2011 left a sour impression to the entire city of New Orleans. Up until now, even the franchise made a major name change to Pelicans, the Big Easy fanbase isn’t forgetting that moment that their beloved superstar quitted them.
But in the minds of Paul, the narrative is entirely different. He detailed his desire to get traded as a response to the uncertainty of the basketball franchise as what he shared to his recent appearance in The Pivot Podcast.
“A lot of people don’t know a lot of times in the past now… A lot of people in New Orleans say ‘You left us’ [and] whatever. I’ll keep it 100 percent right now. They was coming to practice and telling us that the team is leaving,” Paul said. “They was telling us that the team is moving to the Kansas City, they told us that the team is moving to San Diego, somewhere in California. Me and David West had been there. I never spoke on this. I don’t know why today I’m gonna say this but they was coming to tell us that the team is moving.
“First, it was this one guy Mr. Shwest that was going to buy the team at one point, then you know the NBA took over the team and what not. So, when I left, it wasn’t like I’m leaving New Orleans because I want to be out of here. The team was saying they were moving and going to do this and going in all these other different directions. So that’s why me and D-West was like, ‘Okay it’s time for us to move on.'”
Paul started his humble career as the beloved cornerstone of the Hornets franchise from 2005 to 2011, leading them four-straight playoff appearances.
Though his exit left a bad taste to the fans of the city, Paul insisted that he got a soft and highly regarded New Orleans as his home.
“I will never have another bond like I had with that city,” Paul said. “I got drafted a month before [Hurricane] Katrina, two months before Katrina. The city of New Orleans will forever hold the deepest place in my heart. My first two years was in Oklahoma, so I’m grateful for that but then went back to New Orleans. I got real family that lives in that city…”
“I try not to trip at all what not, but like when I play back in New Orleans and people start booing and doing all these, I’ll be looking around like ‘Y’all serious?'”