Chris Paul was on a plane to New York on Sunday to promote his new book when he received a text message from his 14-year-old son, Chris II, who told him he had been “traded.”
A 12-time All-Star, Paul is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. He recently completed his third season with the Phoenix Suns, which included a spot in the 2021 NBA Finals. After the Suns acquired Kevin Durant in February, it looked like more green pastures were ahead.
But on Sunday, the Suns agreed to a provisional trade with the Washington Wizards for three-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal, who turns 30 next week. Paul, 38, was also included in the deal. It is currently unknown where Paul will play next season.
In an interview with The New York Times, Paul reiterated that recent team acquisition Matt Ishbia and fellow Hall of Fame point guard Isaiah Thomas “want to go in different directions.” Mr. Ishbia told reporters in February Mr. Thomas said: did not have a role in the team. Representatives for Sands and Thomas did not respond to requests for comment.
Paul interviewed The Times as part of a promotional tour for his book Sixty-One: Life Lessons From Papa, On and Off the Court. The book, due out Tuesday, is dedicated to his grandfather Nathaniel Jones. Jones was killed in 2002, the day after Paul signed his letter of intent to attend Wake Forest University.
Paul describes Jones as an influential figure in his life and one of his closest friends. Jones operated what appeared to be the first black-owned gas station in the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina.
Paul co-wrote the book with ESPN host Michael Wilbon at the height of the pandemic, weaving together stories of his grandfather and his own journey, including what he experienced as a black athlete following the death of George Floyd.
The interview, which has been edited for length and clarity, was conducted Monday at the New York office of public relations firm Rubenstein. In it, Paul talked about being traded from his grandfather, Phoenix, and his plans after his NBA career is over.
You were on the plane last night. The team that helped you get within two games of him to the championship said they were going to trade you. How do you feel about that?
However, it is difficult. Seriously, it’s part of the business and you realize that no one owes you anything. No matter how you are with them or what you are doing, you realize that no one owes you anything in this business.
But when it got through and my son emailed me, I think Matt and Isaiah just wanted to go in different directions.
So did you know because your son texted you on the plane? It wasn’t your agent emailing you, it wasn’t Matt Ishbia. What goes through your head when you receive the text?
I showed my wife my cell phone. Because I spoke with James Jones yesterday or something. [Jones is the Suns’ president of basketball operations and general manager.]
And did James Jones suggest that this was under consideration? How surprised were you by the email from your son?
I was surprised.
I can tell by the look on your face that you’re trying not to talk too much crap right now.
No, because like I said, that’s what it is. But like I said, Matt and Isaiah must have wanted to go their separate ways.
What happens next in your ideal scenario?
don’t know. I really don’t have enough time to process it yet. Because seriously, what happened didn’t affect me alone.
You mentioned in another interview recently that you want to stay in Phoenix. What are your thoughts on the organization today?
As I said earlier, Matt and Isaiah, they want to go in different directions. But my time there was wonderful. you know what i mean? It was very good. So let’s get back to work.
Anything can be written in a book. You decided to write about your grandfather. why was that?
It was a big point in my life. And, being 38 now, I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to do what I’ve been doing. I looked back and realized that a lot of things have become the status quo because of my relationship with my grandfather.
Now at 38, how do you feel about his death compared to when you were a teenager?
In writing this book, there were conversations I hadn’t thought about or talked about in 20 years.
How painful was it for you and your family to rethink the murder?
In fact, I had several videos of some recordings on my phone. [Paul was referring to recording the audiobook.] While doing that, there were times when my heart broke and I couldn’t get over it.
In the last 20 years of your life, what do you wish you had had your grandfather’s guidance on?
Maybe I was in a Julius Hodge kind of situation when I was in college.Do you get it suspended for match. [In 2005, Paul appeared to deliberately throw a punch below the waist of North Carolina State’s Julius Hodge during the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.]
what do you think he said?
don’t know. I don’t think he was necessarily insane. Well, it’s crazy because all this situation happened because the kids were yelling “I killed my grandpa”. If he had been here, they wouldn’t have been able to say that.
One of the interesting stories I read in the book was about George Floyd being pulled over in Los Angeles after his death. Could you describe the anxiety you felt?
I was on the 405 and it was under construction so it was really crazy. When I parked the car, I parked it on the left side. Originally, I should have leaned to the right, but I think it was due to tension and anxiety. So I pulled it. I don’t care what anyone says. I was a little nervous at the time, especially when all the events were climaxing.
You are a rich, famous, and successful athlete, but you have been arrested by the police and are worried. What does it tell us about our country today?
It teaches us a lot.
When I’m playing in a game and I’m in the arena, all the fans there are screaming. When I leave the game, I don’t leave the game in my uniform. I could finish the game wearing a hoodie with a hat. That’s why I’m a regular. I am like everyone else. That’s another thing. No one knows who the athletes are. I’m an athlete, so I don’t think for a second that I need to get a pass.
How many years did you think you would have in the NBA?
I ask friends, retirees, and people working in other businesses a lot of questions. And one of the biggest things I heard years ago is that the minute you start thinking about when it’s going to end, it’s over.
and you don’t feel it.
What is Chris Paul’s post-playing career like?
I want to be a governor someday.
that’s right. Because I’ve been president of the union for many years, so I know every nuance of the league. And I have relationships that I can learn from them.