Now I’m not going to lie, I don’t normally cover the NBA. But with the World Championships coming up, New Orleans Hornets and Team USA point-guard, Chris Paul in London re-opening a new sports facility at a local school – and an invitation from Nike to attend. I would be a bit of an idiot not to show my face.
It was the first time that the Hornets point-guard had been in London, and he was certainly enjoying his time in the United Kingdom as he re-dedicated the new Jordan Court at the Lilian Baylis Old School in Lambeth.
“I came here to see the kids and to re-dedicate the court downstairs – and I am excited to be here.” The Hornets star cheerfully said.
At an earlier session, just before the Jordan court was re-dedicated, Paul was answering questions from the local school children – and amongst the joking around with the kids. The 25 year-old was enjoying his stay in London, even though he had only been in the country for over 18 hours. Paul had even planned a property purchase.
“I saw Buckingham Palace earlier, I’ve ever only seen pictures, so that was cool. I wouldn’t mind living there.” Paul cracked. Then, he cheekily joked that he would talk to the Queen herself to get a price.
Chris, a big fan of basketball at a grass roots level, was extremely impressed at how the young kids played and even more thrilled at their commitment to play the game and to learn where they are going wrong. He spoke very passionately about grass roots basketball both here, in England and in the States.
“The biggest thing is that it keeps them [kids] in a gym, or on a court.
“ It’s very similar in the States.”
“A lot of times in different situations, you might not have the funds or the ability to get to different places – to enjoy these things, but when you have people that care about the kids, it makes it all worth it.” Paul said – and admitted that it was very tough, because of his height to really showcase his skills, when he was younger – hence why he is so ardent about teaching kids around the world.
The man dubbed: CP3 has come off a tough season for the Hornets this year. Injuries have plagued him and the New Orleans franchise have suffered because of it. And, as a result, it left the Hornets unable to reach the Playoffs and Chris pondering on whether he would either represent his country in Turkey this Summer – or stay home and rest in preparation for training camp with New Orleans, as they build up to the new NBA season.
“My plan right now, is just to get as healthy as possible,” Paul commented, unanimously underlining the fact that he wants to get back to full fitness. But, putting his decision on flying to Turkey with Team USA on hold.
“I need to get my body ready for this long NBA season that’s going to come up. Hopefully I can be in Turkey, but I’m not sure yet, but I’m working on getting to where I was – to get better than what I was.” Concluded Paul.
Team USA no doubt have a busy run-in leading to their campaign in Turkey. With exhibition games against France, Spain, Lithuania and Greece before they travel to Istanbul for the World Championships, where they are heavy favourites. They start their campaign against Croatia on the 28th August.
Paul was determined in becoming injury-free to lead the Hornets back to the Playoff summit again, but admits that with things the way they are in the NBA – you can never be sure of anything. Stating: “It was a tough season, with all the injuries that I endured, and the tough losses, but that’s one thing about the NBA, you get another season to redeem yourself.”
Next stop for CP3 – Paris, for Quai 54. A popular streetball event held every year.
Note – Chris Paul was rededicating the Brand Jordan basketball court for the Lilian Baylis Old School, on behalf of Nike/Jordan. Thanks to Simon Wainwright from Nike UK.
John Hobbs for Talkbasket.net
Listen to the interview below:
Chris Paul and TalkBasket’s John Hobbs