Thursday, March 26, 2015

Conversation with CP3's father

Here, Charles Paul (right) poses with CP3 and CJ Paul during a shoe release party.
I was collecting and editing a few conversations for my book earlier this week when I stumbled upon this interview with NBA superstar Chris Paul's father.

This interview was actually from May of 2007. Most of you that know me are aware that I am pretty tight with CP3, and have talked with him several times. So, I thought it would be cool to get the perspective of his father, Charles Paul.

This conversation definitely turned out to be another one of my favorites, as Charles is very cool, funny and honest. Charles and I talked about a number of things, such as Chris, Winston-Salem, which team would win a title and a number of other things.

Take a look at our candid conversation from a few years ago.

Anthony:  What's going on, Charles?
Charles:  Nothing much. Just sitting up here, watching the Toronto and New Jersey (basketball) game.
Anthony:  Who are you picking in that one?
Charles:  Jersey.
Anthony:  Which team are you picking to win the whole thing?
Charles:  Man, I'm going to tell you what -- I like the way the Warriors are playing. But I believe Detroit has that experience factor. I like the way both of them are playing right now. But if Chicago gets past Detroit then I think Chicago will win it all.

Anthony: That's my pick. Chi-town will win it all. Hey, give me your thoughts on Dirk. He looks to be slippin' this year.
Charles:  Man, he's not slippin.' (Laughs.) Those boys are playing some defense. They don't care how tall he is, or that he can shoot. They're just throwing bodies at him.
Anthony:  Has your impression of the NBA changed since you've gotten a chance to see it behind the scenes and up close?
Charles: A little bit. Some guys can still play when they want to. Overall, I usually revert back to the old days. I still think the boys from back in the day were deeper.

Anthony:  Is Chris (Paul) as good as most people think he is, in your opinion?
Charles:  Yeah, Chris does what he does. He likes to get everybody involved. If he can get everybody involved and they win then he's happy.
Anthony:  When did you realize that CP was the real deal?
Charles:  Probably his sophomore year, on JV. He played in the tournament at Carver. I told him that he took it (his game) to another level after that.
Anthony:  How much has your life changed in the last two years?
Charles:  The only thing different is the way people come at you. That's the only difference. We still live in the same house. We still hold the same values, believing and trusting in God first. We never expected either one of our kids to be at this level. We just knew that both of them were good enough to get a scholarship.

Anthony:  That's good. Hey, how's Robin (CP's mother) doing?
Charles and Robin Paul.
Charles:  She's doing fine. She's up here watching the game too. She's a ball freak too.
Anthony:  How much traveling do you all put in during a year?
Charles:  It's a lot of traveling. We just left from out here (Oklahoma) when Chris had his surgery.  Then we had to turn around and come right back yesterday. We probably go somewhere every other week. Robin is out here more than me because I am doing the AAU thing.

Anthony:  That's right. How are the AAU teams (CP3 All-Stars) doing?
Charles:  We're doing pretty good. Our 15s and 17s are doing really good. Our 15s finished second in the state this week. Our 17s have been to the LeBron tournament, and Charlie Weber tournament twice. Our 15s have played in the 'Melo tournament. Things are going really good.
Anthony:  Did you get to watch any of the (2007) NFL Draft?
Adrian Peterson.
Charles:  No, I didn't get to see it. But we know Adrian Peterson. I met him and his daddy. I just seen his daddy a few minutes ago.

Anthony:  Cool. What do you do during your free time? What do you do for fun?
Charles:  Play basketball. I play basketball and bowl. I try to stay in a little shape.

Anthony:  I hear that. Most people have heard the stories of you making Chris and C.J. (CP's brother) bind their hands behind their back and play full court -- among other things. Have you thought about becoming a basketball personal trainer?
Charles:  Man, I would love to do that. But I really don't have the time to do one-on-one stuff. That's why I coach AAU ball, trying to give it to the kids in that way.

Anthony:  Let's switch it up a little bit. What are you listening to a lot of these days?
Yolanda Adams singing.
Charles: Any Yolanda Adams song. I'm a gospel man.
Anthony:  Free association. Charles Paul.
Charles:  Normal man.

Anthony:  Winston-Salem.
Charles:  I love it. My home.
Anthony:  Essence Festival.
Charles:  Excellent event. Beautiful for our people.
Anthony:  New Orleans.
Charles:  New Orleans is still struggling. It's a struggle to get things back to where they were. We've been down there at least 10 times since Katrina. We went down there and met with Kenny Smith, Alonzo Mourning and all of them to help clean up...
Anthony:  That's what's up, Mr. Paul. I'm gonna let you get back to your night. I appreciate the time.
Charles:  I appreciate you.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Comedian B-Daht, aka Brian McLAUGHlin entertains

So, I was at a close friends house recently when I noticed another friend on the upcoming season of Nick Cannon's Wild N Out. 

My old buddy Brian Mclaughlin, who most of us call B-Daht, is on Season 6 of the show, which begins tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan. 7 on MTV). There's a shameless plug for my dude. I always knew/ thought he was going to be a great comedian one day. This is seemingly just the beginning for the guy who started his career as simply a very funny dude on a radio station in Greensboro, NC.

Watch B-Daht on Wild N Out.
That's where I met him. He also announced Winston-Salem State sporting events during my time as a sports journalist in Winston-Salem in the early 2000s. Brian and I sat down for a fun interview back in 2008, where we discussed a number of topics, such as Chris Paul, the NBA Draft, Josh Howard, Mariah Carey and a few other things that I may include in this blog.

I definitely enjoyed this one. I think you will too.

Anthony:  What's good, B-Daht?
Brian:  Nothing much, man. Coolin.' Just leaving the Goodwill.
Anthony:  (Laughs.) Were you dropping some nice stuff off?
Brian:  Nah, man. I'm shopping, dude. Stop playing. I'm shopping. (Both laugh.) My mom actually works at the Goodwill on the white side of town. I went by to see her. They also had a nice computer desk. I've had my computer on the nightstand for  the last couple of months. So I went ahead and bought that thang.
Anthony: (Laughs.) I got to ask you if you're finally over Nick Cannon marrying Mariah Carey?
Mariah and Nick. 
Brian:  I guess I'm over it. There's no point in hating. I just envy his position extremely. I don't even like Mariah like that. I wouldn't even holla at Mariah Carey if I was famous. I don't think she's even dope. Just the fact that Nick Cannon bagged her is crazy. Like Jermaine Dupree and Janet Jackson. It's like I had a shot, man.

Anthony:  (Laughs.) No doubt. How 's this year been going to be for you?
Brian:  It's been good. My son turns 2, Aug. 2. That's great. I was also on Maury Povich. I don't know if you saw that. I was on there for a secret crush episode. That was crazy. A lot of people still ask me if it was serious. Just look at the tape. Do you normally see Daht walk around with his pants up to his nipple. (Both laugh.) You don't see that.
Anthony:  I see that you're "Pranks" DVD is starting to pick up. Where did you get the idea for that? Were you a Jerky Boys fan or something?
Brian:  Nah, man. I am not even a fan of the Jerky Boys. That came out of the blue. That was like Punked. I do the same thing, except I do it on the phone. My idea was to just do celebrities, and them say they just got pranked. My first volume was extremely low budget. I might've moved eight copies. (Both laugh.) It was crazy. This time I went and hollared at my folks, Ricky Ruckus. He's a fool with Photoshop.
Anthony:  Big shout out to the homie, Ricky Ruckus.
Brian:  No doubt. Big shout out to the homie. As a matter of fact I need to holla at him tomorrow because we have a banger that I'm going to post on my page real soon. We're going to link it to Youtube and get a million hits. I'm telling you first, Ant.

Anthony:  That's cool. Let's talk about sports for a moment. Do you feel like this was the worst draft year ever?
Brian:  It depends on which team you like. I'm pretty sure Portland fans would say the '83 draft was the worst in history.
Anthony:  Give me your thoughts on the BET awards (2008).
Alicia Keys during the 2008 BET Awards.
Brian:  It was bootleg and poorly produced. I was excited to see Alicia Keys and that outfit. She killed it. And, she brought out SWV, En Vogue and TLC. I also enjoyed laughing at Rick Ross and his belly hanging out. I got crunk with the energy that Ludacris brought out. Al Green didn't know if he wanted to be gospel or gangsta. (Both laugh.)

Anthony:  (Smiles.) No doubt. Let's go into free association. 102 Jamz.
Brian:  Hottest station on the planet. I honestly mean that. If we were in New York it would be bananas. Everybody on our roster is talented. This is a hot station.
Anthony:  Chris Paul's Winston-Salem Weekend.
Brian:  Off the chain. Bananas. Celebrity-filled. Memories.
Anthony:  Definitely. Dream date.
Ray J with a pair of CP3 shoes.
Brian:  Kim Kardashian. That's my secret crush right now. But don't tell Ray J. I'm not even worried about Reggie Bush. I'm trying to get Chris (Paul) to fly me down to kick it with him (in New Orleans). Then, get around Reggie to talk to Kim...make it happen. Then, I'm outta there.
Anthony:  (Laughs.) Josh Howard (former NBA all-star).
Brian:  The mayor. I give him so much props. He's so underrated on and off the court. He's a smart dude. He just needs to watch the people that he keeps around him. He's a great dude that always gives back. A lot of things that Josh does goes unnoticed.

Anthony:  I agree. Um, B-Daht.
Brian:  Still grinding. The funniest dude around. I'm really about to take it up a notch in this comedy. I'm just now getting my foundation started too. It's a nonprofit called D.A.H.T (Daht attempting to help teens). I'm geared at helping 13-19 year-old kids. Also, the Pranks DVDs are out. I'm looking for some more spots to sale it. Right now you can order them off my site or pick them up at Fresh Flava's at the Walkertown shopping center. I'm still grinding. Just trying to keep moving forward.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Past conversation with Stephen A. Smith

This interview with Stephen A. Smith is easily one of my favorite Q&As simply because the entertainment value of this conversation.

You must know that the following conversation took place in 2004, years before ESPN's First Take and the spike of his popularity and income. He and I spoke for the first time when Smith was 36 years old and still working for the Philadelphia Inquirer. My man was starting to get a lot of guest spots on ESPN that year, which is why I thought it would be cool to speak with him.

I felt something more coming along for Smith. Besides, I had already been a fan of his since I was in college. Also, weeks before this interview took place I had spoken to his former college basketball coach, Bighouse Gaines. Coach Gaines couldn't stop talking about his former player, in a humorous way. So I instantly began working on getting some time with Smith.

I will admit that he got a little upset with me about publishing some of his comments. He assumed they were off the record. I didn't feel that Stephen said anything that bad. Actually, I found it all to be engaging and funny.

Take a look at SOME of the things he and I discussed on July 20, 2004.

Anthony:  What's going on, Stephen?
Stephen:  I'm exhausted. But other than that -- I'm cool.
Anthony:  You should be. (Smiles.) Man, I see you on television 24/7.
Stephen:  Man, you have no idea. People don't realize that I don't ask for this. They (ESPN) literally call and ask me to come in. My contract calls me to do NBA Shootaround and NBA Fastbreak. I usually do NBA Shootaround every Friday, for the most part. And, I do NBA Fastbreak once or twice a week on the weekends, during the NBA season. You understand.
Anthony:  (Laughs.)
David Aldridge
Stephen:  That's all my contract calls for me to do. My contract doesn't call for me to do that other stuff. But I've gotta hang.
Anthony:  Have you basically taken David Aldridge' spot on ESPN?
Stephen:  No. A lot of people are under that impression. That's actually not the truth. What a lot of people don't realize, Anthony, is that David Aldridge and I don't do the same thing.

Anthony:  OK.
Stephen:  We're both insiders, but only because that's what I do. I dig for information. But my job at ESPN is an analyst, you know what I'm saying. I'm on the shows. All David Aldridge does is strictly reporting. I'm also responsible for bringing ESPN the ratings too. (Both laugh.) It's a different role for me. Do you want to know who's very similar to David Aldridge?
Anthony:  Who's that?
Stephen:  Jim Gray, because that's what he does. He does the sideline reporting from games. I don't do that. I'm similar to do David because I have sources around the league and I'll break some stories. But, for the most part my role is to be on those shows.
Anthony:  Got ya. Now that the Kobe and Shaq situation is over and done with -- at least for now, what are you going to be talking about?
Stephen:  Well, it's a combination of things. I also do Ol Skool, Nu Skool on SportsCenter every Sunday morning. That's me debating against Skip Bayless on a variety of issues -- not just NBA issues. Other than that, you have to remember that it's free agency time around the league. So teams are going to make moves. Decisions are going down.
Anthony:  True. Why do you always seem to be going at Kobe. Don't you blame Shaq for at least some of what's going on in L.A.?
Stephen:  First of all, it is Shaq's fault. I'm not gonna lie to you. I don't think I'm hard on Kobe. A lot of people feel that way. That's not what I think. I'll give you an example. John Thompson once said something to me that I think was the absolute truth. Coach Gaines said it about me too. If you want to know how I feel just ask me. I don't have anything against Kobe. But if I watch him in a press conference and I think he's lying don't ask me if I think he's lying. And, I won't tell you. But if you ask me then I'm going to tell you.
Anthony:  (Laughs.)

Stephen:  When I think about Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O,Neal, and think about the relationship they had, and then see Kobe on national TV -- in front of everybody, saying he had nothing to do with this. (Both laugh.) Now you have gone too far. I never said who was right or wrong in terms of Kobe's relationship with Shaq. What I said was, "Who gives a damn?" He's (Shaq) 7-1, 360 pounds. He's the most dominant force in the game. Find a way. Kobe wanted Shaq gone. Everybody knew that. Then, Kobe gets in front of a camera and says how much this angers and hurts him. He talked about how he loves Shaq, and how upset he is that his partner in crime is gone. Now that's insulting our intelligence. That pisses me off. People aren't stupid. There would've been nothing wrong with him saying, "Ya'll don't play with him everyday. Ya'll ain't here from training camp where we bust our butts during the off season, and he (Shaq) ain't in shape." That's all the man had to say, Anthony.
Anthony:  You're right.
Stephen:  I am who I am. If you don't like it, it's just too damn bad.

Anthony:  Give me your thoughts about my man, Wake Forest point guard Chris Paul.
Stephen:  He's got a nice game. I haven't seen him play much. He's got a lot of heart. He ain't scared of anybody. He's a streaky shooter, if I remember correctly. They say that he has tremendous upside. I've got to see more of him next year.
Anthony:  I mentioned this earlier, but you're kind of big in the world of sports right now. Did you see this kind of success coming?
Stephen:  Not at all. I've been blessed. My mission was to be a general sports columnist. There's over 4,000 general sports columnist in America. Only 21 of them are black, and I'm one of them.
Anthony:  How was your game back when you played at Winston-Salem State University?
Stephen:  I was good. Coach Gaines signed me to a scholarship on the spot. The problem was that I developed tendinitis in my knee by the time I reported to the team. Coach Gaines used to always ask me if I knew what they did to broken horses in Kentucky. They shoot them. That was his favorite thing to say to me. "Boy you came here limping."It was true. I was never healthy. I could shoot, but I couldn't run with anybody. That always depressed me because I worked so hard, but couldn't stop limping.

Legendary basketball coach Clarence "Bighouse" Gaines.
Anthony:  Let's conclude with free association. Simply tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Coach Gaines.
Stephen:  Icon.
Anthony:  Allen Iverson
Stephen:  Super star. No, no. Misunderstood.
Anthony:  Larry Brown.
Stephen:  Genius.
Anthony:  Winston-Salem, NC.
Stephen:  Educating.
Anthony:  Favorite TV show.
Stephen:  Law & Order.
Anthony:  What's next for you?
Stephen:  I'll be doing this for at least 20 more year. But my dream is to do something like 60 Minutes.
Anthony:  Cool. Steve, I appreciate you taking the time to let me drill you.
Stephen:  No problem, man. Take care of yourself.