Born on May 6, 1985, in Lewisville, North Carolina, Chris Paul grew up in a tight-knit family. Although as a child he played football, Paul later took his older brother's lead and became a basketball standout. Following a high school stint as a star, he was recruited to Wake Forest University, where he became a key part of the team's effort to rebuild. Paul was drafted into the National Basketball Association in 2005, by the New Orleans Hornets, where he played for six seasons before becoming a key part of another rebuilding effort, with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Christopher Emmanuel Paul was born on May 6, 1985, in Lewisville, North Carolina, the second son of Charles and Robin Paul. Chris' father was a former athlete who taught him and his older brother C.J. the fundamentals of basketball and football, and encouraged their involvement in team sports. When Paul wasn't busy with sports, he worked in a service station owned by his grandfather, Nathaniel Jones (whom everyone called Papa Chilly), with whom he was very close.
While short for his age, Paul followed his brother's lead as a standout junior varsity and varsity basketball player, prized for his speed and intelligence on the court. As he shot up in height during his high school career, he landed on the radar of several colleges who tried to recruit him. Paul eventually chose Wake Forest University, which was close to home and had a rich basketball history. In a tragic turn, soon after he made his college choice, Paul's grandfather was beaten and killed during a robbery at his home; he was 61 years old. During a high school game soon after, Paul scored 61 points as a personal tribute to his beloved grandfather.
Recruited to play for Wake Forest's Demon Deacons by respected head coach Skip Prosser, Paul was a team leader from his first game. He was named Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Rookie of the Year and broke five Wake Forest freshman records for assists, steals, free throw and three-point percentages, and free throws. Publications College Insider, The Sporting News and Basketball Times and star coach Dick Vitale all pegged Paul as the nation's best freshman player.
In 2005, after his sophomore season, Paul declared for the NBA draft, where he was selected fourth overall by the New Orleans Hornets in the first round (after Utah's Andrew Bogut, UNC's Marvin Williams and Illinois' Deron Williams). The Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Bobcats also expressed strong interest in adding Paul to their franchises. Paul was assured a starting spot with the struggling Hornets. When the devastating Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans Gulf Coast area, the team relocated to Oklahoma City to practice and play.
During his first year in the pros, the Hornets won 38 games and Paul was named the top Western Conference rookie for every month of the season. He went on to be named NBA Rookie of the Year. During the 2007-08 season, when the Hornets returned to full-time play in New Orleans, Paul's on-court and leadership skills increased, landing him a hoped-for spot in the NBA All-Star Game.
Paul's consistent high level of play and chemistry with his teammates catapulted the Hornets to a playoff spot, the team's first since the 2003-04 season. (They were eventually eliminated by the champion San Antonio Spurs.)
Prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, the Hornets orchestrated a three-way trade deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that sent Paul to the West Coast. After a negative backlash in New Orleans, the trade was nullified, although Paul eventually went to Los Angeles to play for the Clippers.
Paul and his wife, Jada, whom he met at Wake Forest, have two children: a daughter, Cameron Alexis; and a son, Christopher Emmanuel II. Paul's family nicknamed him CP3 because he, his father and brother all share the same C.P. initials. He is an avid bowler and owns a franchise in the Professional Bowlers Association league.
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