Paul during a Thunder game.
|No. 3 – Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Born||May 6, 1985|
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
|Listed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Listed weight||175 lbs (79 kg)|
|High school||West Forsyth|
(Clemmons, North Carolina)
|College||Wake Forest (2003-2005)|
|NBA Draft||2005 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4th|
|Selected by the New Orleans Hornets|
|Playing career||2005–present (15 years)|
|2005–2011||New Orleans Hornets|
|2011–2017||Los Angeles Clippers|
|2019–present||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Career highlights and awards|
Christopher Emmanuel Paul (born May 6, 1985) is an American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His nickname is "CP3" due to his first and last name initials and his number 3.
He has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the NBA in assists four times and steals six times. He has also been selected to ten NBA All-Star teams, eight All-NBA teams, and nine NBA All-Defensive teams.
Paul was a McDonald's All-American in high school. He attended Wake Forest University for two years of college basketball, where he helped the Demon Deacons achieve their first-ever number one ranking. He was selected fourth overall in the 2005 NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets, where he developed into one of the league's premier players, finishing second in NBA Most Valuable Player Award voting in 2008. During the 2011 offseason, Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, only for the transaction to be controversially voided by the NBA. Later that summer, he was dealt to the other Los Angeles NBA team, the Los Angeles Clippers, instead. Behind Paul's playmaking, the Clippers developed a reputation for their fast-paced offense and spectacular alley-oop dunks, earning them the nickname "Lob City". In 2017, he was traded to the Houston Rockets, and helped the team win a franchise-record 65 games in his debut season. He was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook on July 16, 2019.
Off the court, Paul has served as the National Basketball Players Association president since August 2013. One of the highest-paid athletes in the world, he holds endorsement deals with companies such as Nike and State Farm.
Chris Paul played on his junior varsity team at West Forsyth located in Clemmons, North Carolina.
Chris Paul also played on his junior varisty team this year, and make substantial impacts.
For his junior year, he averaged 25 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.4 steals per game, helping West Forsyth reach the state semifinals before falling to an unknown team. However, over the ensuing summer, he led the Winston-Salem-based Kappa Magic to the National U-17 AAU title, earning tournament MVP honors in the process.
During his senior year, he averaged 30.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and 6 steals a game.which lead his school to a 27-3 record and advancing to the Class 4A Eastern Regional final where he was named a McDonald's All-American first team Parade All-American, and most notably, North Carolina's Mr. Basketball.
A special moment in his senior year, he arose in popularity after scoring 61 points in a game after his 61-year-old grandfather was killed. #Respect
Chris Paul attended Wake Forest University, where he averaged 14.8 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 steals per game as a freshmen, which set a school record. Unfortunately, they qualified for the NCAA Tournament but lost in the Sweet Sixteen to St. Josephs. Paul was named ACC Rookie of the Year and Third Team All-ACC.
Wake Forest was ranked number one for the first time in school history during Paul's sophmore year. He averaged 15.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 2.4 steals per game and was named First Team Consensus All-American and carried a 3.21 GPA (named to ESPN's Academic All-America Team).
Paul received a one-game suspension in the final game of the season, which he suffered in the AAC tournament. This was caused by his actions of punching NC State guard Julius Hodge in the groin, which insignificantly ruined his image as a player. He announced he was turning professional on April 15th, 2005 and had his jersey retired (#3) by Wake Forest on March 2nd, 2011.
New Orleans Hornets (2005–2011)
Early season (2005–2007)
Paul was selected fourth overall in the 2005 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets. Due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Hornets played most of their games in Oklahoma City that year. Paul finished the season leading all rookies in points, assists, steals, and double-doubles, and became only the second rookie in NBA history to lead the league in total steals. With final averages of 16.1 points, 5.1
rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, he was named NBA Rookie of the Year, falling just one vote shy of winning the award unanimously. The only other rookie to receive a first place vote was Deron Williams, with whom Paul enjoyed a brief rivalry early in their careers.
At the 2007 All-Star Weekend, Paul set new Rookie Challenge records with 17 assists and 9 steals. For his sophomore season, he increased his scoring and passing averages to 17.3 points and 8.9 assists per game, but played in only 64 games due to injury.
Rise to stardom (2007–2011)
Paul was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game in 2007–08, playing in front of his home fans in New Orleans. Behind his leadership, the Hornets were near the top of the Western Conference standings all year, temporarily occupying first place on March 17 following a win against the Chicago Bulls. New Orleans finished the season with a franchise-record 56 wins and the second seed in the West. Paul led the NBA with 11.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game to go along with 21.1 points per game, finishing second in NBA
Most Valuable Player Award voting and being named to his first All-NBA and All-Defensive teams. In his playoff debut, he scored 35 points against the Dallas Mavericks. In Game 2, he set a franchise playoff record with 17 assists. The Hornets defeated the Mavericks in five games, with Paul registering 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 15 assists in the final game. New Orleans was eliminated in the next round by the San Antonio Spurs.
Prior to the start of the 2008–09 season, Paul signed a contract extension with the Hornets worth $68
million. On December 17, 2008, he set the NBA record for consecutive games with a steal at 106. On several occasions, he came within a few steals of recording a quadruple-double, including a 27-point, 10 rebound, 15 assist, and 7 steal game against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 26, 2009. His final averages were 22.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 11 assists, and 2.8 steals per game. Despite Paul's individual accomplishments, New Orleans' record fell from the year before and they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets.
After a slow start to the 2009–10 season, the Hornets fired coach Byron Scott. Paul stirred up controversy when he announced his displeasure with the move, commenting that team management should have "consulted with me and asked how I felt before it happened." In early February, 2010, Paul tore cartilage in his left knee and was sidelined for over a month by surgery, forcing him to miss the All-Star Game. In total, he played in only 45 games and his averages dropped to 18.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 10.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Without Paul, the Hornets struggled, missing the playoffs.
In 2010–11, Paul had another injury scare on March 6, 2011, suffering a concussion after colliding with Cavaliers guard Ramon Sessions and being carried off the court on a stretcher. He returned two games later, registering 33 points and 15 assists against the Sacramento Kings. With Paul playing a full season, the Hornets qualified for the playoffs and were matched up with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. Paul had a "historically great" performance in the series, contributing 33 points, 14 assists, and 4 steals in Game 1 and 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists in Game 4. His final averages were 22 points, 6.7 rebounds, 11.5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game on 54.5 percent shooting. New Orleans was eliminated in six games, and ownership, fearing that Paul would leave the franchise via free agency, began actively pursuing a trade that would provide the team equitable compensation in return for his services.
Los Angeles Clippers (2011–2017)
Trade to Los Angeles (2011)
On December 8, 2011, the Hornets agreed to a three-team trade sending Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA, who owned the team at the time, nullified the deal, with commissioner David Stern claiming New Orleans would be better off keeping Paul. The teams involved in the trade attempted to lobby the league to reverse its ruling and reconstruct the deal to no avail. On December 12, the Hornets agreed to a trade sending Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers, but the deal broke down after the NBA added additional demands to the original terms. Two days later, the teams finally made the trade, sending Paul and two future second-round draft picks to the Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Minnesota Timberwolves' unprotected first round pick in the 2012 draft. Upon the deal's completion, Paul announced that he would opt into the final year of his contract and remain in Los Angeles for at least two more seasons.
Playoff contention (2011–2017)
Paul's arrival to Los Angeles rejuvenated the Clippers franchise, with teammate Blake Griffin later commenting, "It put us on the map." Early in Paul's debut season, the team developed a reputation for their fast-paced offense and spectacular alley-oop dunks, usually from Paul to Griffin or DeAndre Jordan, earning them the nickname "Lob City". Paul finished the year averaging 19.8 points, 9.1 assists, and 2.5 steals per game, becoming the first Clipper to be named to the All-NBA First Team since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s. Behind his play and the emergence of Griffin as an All-NBA performer, Los Angeles qualified for the playoffs, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Semifinals.
At the 2013 All-Star Game, Paul led the West to victory with a 20-point and 15 assist performance, earning his first NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award. He finished the season averaging 16.9 points, 9.7 assists, and 2.4 steals per game, helping the Clippers to a franchise-record 56 wins. Seeded fourth in the West entering the playoffs, Los Angeles were defeated in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies. Shortly after their early postseason exit, the Clippers announced they would not renew coach Vinny Del Negro's contract and rumors arose of Paul forcing Del Negro out. Los Angeles later denied any player involvement in the coaching decision.
Prior to the start of the 2013–14 season, Paul re-signed with the Clippers for five years on a contract worth approximately $107 million. Despite a shoulder injury that sidelined him for over a month, Los Angeles set another new franchise record for wins with 57. His final averages were 19.1 points, 10.7 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. In Game 1 of the second round of the playoffs, he hit a career postseason-high eight three-pointers to help the Clippers take an early series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder. In Game 5 and with the series tied 2–2, he made a string of late mistakes leading to an eventual Thunder victory, later commenting, "It's me ... Everything that happened at the end is on me." Oklahoma City eventually eliminated Los Angeles in six games.
In 2014–15, Paul played in all 82 games for the first time in his career, averaging 19.1 points and a league-high 10.2 assists per game. In Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs, he hit a go-ahead shot with a second left to lift the Clippers over the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs despite a hamstring injury. The injury forced him to miss the first two games of the next series versus the Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles eventually lost in seven games despite holding a 3–1 series lead. The defeat marked ten consecutive seasons and seven consecutive playoff appearances without a Conference Finals appearance for Paul.
In January of the 2015–16 season, Paul led the Clippers on a ten-game winning streak despite missing Griffin and Jordan at various points due to injury. For the third straight year, he finished the season with averages of over 19 points, 10 assists, and 2 steals per game. To begin the postseason, the Clippers drew a matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers, taking a 2–1 lead to start the series. In Game 4, Paul broke his hand and was ruled out indefinitely. Without Paul, as well as Griffin, who also injured himself in Game 4, Los Angeles eventually lost the series in six games.
In 2016–17, Paul missed 21 regular season games due to rest or injury, and averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists, and 5 rebounds in just over 31 minutes per game. At season's end, Paul was not rewarded with an All-NBA honor, marking just the second time he failed to make an All-NBA team since 2008 and the first time in his six years as a Clipper. In the playoffs, Los Angeles was eliminated after their first round series against the Utah Jazz, with Paul averaging 25.3 points, 9.9 assists, 5 rebounds per game over seven games.
Houston Rockets (2017–2019)
On June 28, 2017, Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Lou Williams, Kyle Wiltjer, a future first round pick, and cash considerations. In his debut for the Rockets in their season opener on October 17, 2017, Paul had four points on 2-for-9 shooting in a 122–121 win over the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Paul sat on the bench down the stretch while the Rockets made their final push, and it was later revealed he was playing through a knee injury. He subsequently missed the next 14 games. He returned to the lineup on November 16 and had 11 points and 10 assists in a 142–116 win over the Phoenix Suns. On December 13, he recorded a then season-high 31 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds in a 108–96 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Two days later, he had 28 points, eight assists, and seven steals to lead the Rockets to their 12th straight victory, a 124–109 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Paul became the first player in NBA history to post 28 points, eight assists, and seven steals in a game against the Spurs. In the previous 10 years, that stat line had been achieved just 10 times—six of those 10 recorded by Paul. He was subsequently named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday, December 11 through Sunday, December 17. It was his 13th career Player of the Week honor and his first since January 2016. On January 10, Paul took 29 shots and finished with a then season-high 37 points in a 121–112 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. On January 18, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Paul earned his 1,958th steal, passing Derek Harper to move into 13th place on the NBA's career steals list. On January 26, he scored a season-high 38 points in a 115–113 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. On February 3, he recorded 22 points and 11 assists in a 120–88 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. During the game, Paul passed Andre Miller (8,624) for ninth place on the career assists list. On February 23, in a 120–102 win over the Timberwolves, Paul passed Allen Iverson for 12th on the NBA's career steals list with 1,984. The Rockets finished the regular season as the No. 1 seed for the first time in franchise history, with a franchise-best 65–17 record.
In Game 5 of the Rockets' second-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Paul scored a playoff career-high 41 points with eight 3-pointers to reach the conference finals for the first time in his career, helping the Rockets eliminate the Jazz in five games with a 112–102 win. He also had 10 assists and seven rebounds. In Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, Paul injured his hamstring late in the game as the Rockets went up 3–2 in the series against the Warriors. With Paul out for Games 6 and 7, the Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs with back-to-back losses, denying Paul his first trip to the NBA Finals.
On July 8, 2018, Paul signed a four-year, $160 million maximum contract extension with the Rockets. Paul received a two-game suspension early in the 2018–19 season for his involvement in an on-court fight against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 20. Additionally, Paul was fined a total of $491,782 for his role in the fracas. On December 11, he recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 111–104 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. On December 20, he suffered a left hamstring strain against the Miami Heat. He subsequently missed 17 games, returning to action on January 27 against the Orlando Magic. On February 23, he recorded 23 points and a season-high 17 assists in a 118–112 win over the Golden State Warriors. On March 10 against the Dallas Mavericks, Paul passed Isiah Thomas (9,061) to move into seventh on the NBA's all-time career assists list. He averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 8.2 assists last season while shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three-point range during the 2018–19 season.
Oklahoma City Thunder (2019–present)
He debuted for the Thunder in a 100–95 loss to the Utah Jazz on October 23, 2019, putting up 22 points and 8 rebounds in 30 minutes of play. On December 16, Paul recorded a near triple-double, posting 30 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists in a 109–106 win over the Chicago Bulls. He also fell just shy of a triple-double on December 29, as he recorded 25 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, in a 98–97 win over the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors. On January 30, 2020, Paul was selected to his tenth All-Star nod, and first since 2016, being named a Western Conference reserve. On February 11, Paul scored a season-high 31 points in a 114–106 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.