Note: This was my first interview with NBA star Chris Paul. We've done numerous interviews and other things since then. But I thought I would post a real "throwback" interview. This is from Paul's senior year of high school. This was before the NBA Rookie of the Year and MVP runner-up honors. Take a look.
(From 2003) It seems like everyone across the country is talking about St. Vincent- St. Mary's phenomenal high school player, LeBron James. Well, West Forsyth has an incredible player of its own in senior guard Chris Paul.
Let's be honest. Chris is the man around here. And, every fan that has seen him play thinks he is one of the greatest high school players to perform in this state. He hit up an opponent for 61 points earlier this season, along with a stellar performance in the Frank Spencer a few weeks ago.
I caught up with Mr. Paul moments after he put on another impressive show in an 84-47 victory over South Rowan last Friday (Jan. 2003) night.
Anthony: What's going on Chris?
Chris: I'm all right. I'm just chillin'.
Anthony: Man, it looked like you simply exploded on those boys tonight. You must have been feeling it.
Chris: Well, South Rowan has always been a team in our conference that has played us real dirty by applying a lot of hard fouls. So, I was real pumped for this game.
Anthony: Speaking of hard fouls. I saw that guy come up under you before you "yoked" (dunked) on him. It looked as if you got a little mad and had a choice of words for him. What were you two jawing about?
Chris: I ain't say nothing. (Laughs.) It's just all in the game. I just want to win.
Anthony: What exactly did he do?
Chris: When I went up for the dunk he came up under and acted like he didn't do anything. I don't remember what I said. I don't even remember what he said. They were talking so much tonight.
Anthony: Man, it doesn't look like you even get tired out there. What kind of fuel are you running on?
Chris: You know what? I just wanna win so bad that I don't really get tired. That's just the emotions of basketball. This is what I do.
Anthony: Now, you scored 61 points on a team earlier this season. Is that the most you've ever scored in a single game.
Chris: Yeah. That was the most.
Anthony: What motivated you to score so many points?
Chris: My grandfather was murdered on Nov. 15. I signed to play with Wake on the 14th. My grandfather was my bestfriend and he was 61. After his funeral I felt like I was going to score those points for him. I had know idea I was actually going to score that many points though. Someone said something to me about it before the game. I just got on the court and started to do some things and then I felt like I could do it.
Anthony: Wow. That was truly amazing. Let me ask you this, Chris. You're one of the premier players in high school basketball. What made you commit to Wake so early?
Chris: I had offers from every team in the ACC and other teams that I liked. But, I knew where I wanted to play. I figured I wouldn't waste any other colleges time by recruiting me.
Anthony: You have a catalog of sick moves on the court. It looks like you've been watching a few "And 1 Mixtapes."
Chris: Yeah, I watch them. But, some of that stuff I wouldn't try in a game. I have full-court basketball court at my house and me and brother used to always play one on one everyday. I got most of those moves from him. He and my dad are definitely the reason I'm the player I am today. My dad used to make me and my brother put our right arms behind our backs so we would have to use our left hand to shoot.
Anthony: Let me ask you this: What are your interest outside of basketball? What are you going to pursue in college?
Chris: I'm going to Wake and I'm not really sure what I'm going to major in. I was thinking about computer science or something like that.
Anthony: Answer this for me. Which is better — a thunderous dunk or an embarrassing block?
Chris: Dunk. A "facial."
Anthony: What? But, you just started dunking this year.
Chris: True. I don't know. I guess I will say a good pass is the best feeling. (Both laugh.)
Anthony: Did you ever think about playing another sport? Or has basketball always been your main concentration?
Chris: I was the back-up quarterback for varsity my sophomore year. Everyone thought I was gonna drop basketball to play football.
Chris: Yeah. I played football for 10 years.
Anthony: So what made you decide to play hoops?
Chris: (pause.). It was more fun to me. I started to think about which one I would rather do in college. So, I chose basketball.
Anthony: Let's switch this interview up a little bit. (Pause.) Did you have a favorite cartoon when you were growing up?
Chris: Woody Wood Pecker.
Anthony: (Both laugh.) Is there an athlete in which you've looked up to your entire life?
Chris: Oh yeah. Definitely, Michael Jordan. I used to watch him and see all the amazing things he's done throughout his career. So, I would say him.
Anthony: I'm sure that you have a lot more people claiming to be your friend now that you're getting all this media attention and praise. How rough is it having all kinds of strangers acting as if they know you?
Chris: It's rough, but I know who the people are that were with me from the beginning. Family comes first for me.
Anthony: Let's jump into something I like to call "free association." I say one word and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind.
Chris: All right.
Anthony: Josh Howard.
Chris: Incredible defense.
Anthony: R.J. Reynolds Demons.
Chris: (Pause.) Rivalry.
Anthony: Favorite class.
Anthony: Dream date.
Chris: Halle Berry. (Both laugh.)
Anthony: Kobe Bryant.
Chris: One of my favorites.
Anthony: One final question. What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?
Chris: 10 years from now, HOPEFULLY I'LL BE IN THE NBA.
Anthony: Good luck with that, Chris.
Chris: Thanks a lot man.