interview by Wendy Jackson Slaton
Chris Paul is better known as a professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association. 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 time. He’s not only a hero on the court, Chris Paul is all about family, and through his family foundation, The Chris Paul Family Foundation, he continues to be a hero off the court where he strives to positively impact individuals and families by leveling the playing field in Education, Sports and Life. The foundation provides resources that enrich and strengthen healthy development of strong communities.
Houston Family Magazine’s 2019 Kid Ambassadors had the opportunity to ask Chris Paul a few questions and here’s what he had to say…
Logan – age 6
Besides basketball, what is your (second) favorite sport?
I’d have to say it’s a toss between bowling and golf. I am very competitive by nature, and I enjoy both of these sports. Bowling is something I can enjoy with my family. The golf course is where I get to spend time with my Dad, my brother and good friends, and just in case you are wondering…Yes, my goal is to beat all of them!
What do you hope to instill in your children?
First and foremost, I hope I’ve taught my children about the importance of family. Spending time and supporting one another in everything you do. I also hope my children understand the importance of giving back to their community. Most people think you have to have money to give back to your community. Not true. Everyone has the opportunity to serve others. Look for the kids who may be different from you. I hope my kids (and your kids know) that just by saying “hello” or sitting with them during lunch, that’s my definition of serving others. Or, maybe a kid understands and excels at a school subject, try and reach out to help someone else who may be struggling. Making someone else feel important and valued is perhaps one of the best things our kids can do for others.
Family is important to you. How have they shaped who you are today?
Our family has always been very close. My parents were a major part of the after-school activities in which my brother and I participated. We were active in our church and community activities. We worked in our grandfather’s gas station as young men, where he taught us the value of working hard. We shared holidays with our aunts, uncles and cousins. Our foundation recently celebrated Christmas by partnering with a sporting goods store and gave new bicycles and helmets to kids in the community. We had thirty of our family members fly to Houston to support the event.
Brooke – age 13
Everyone has a hero or someone they look up to. Who would be yours?
I was lucky to have two heroes. My Dad and my Grandfather. My Dad was the coach of my little league basketball team. He taught me the importance of sharing on the court with my teammates. My Granddad taught me the value of hard work and how to make the most out of the money I was making.
What has been your biggest obstacle in your career?
The biggest obstacle has been having to move multiple times and our family having to adjust to a new city.
You have played for the Hornets, Clippers and Rockets. What have you learned from each team?
I’ve learned a lot from each team. Coaching styles are different with every NBA team and relationships between players.
What would the perfect Sunday look like to you?
A perfect Sunday would start it being a day off. I would wake up with my wife and kids, have breakfast together, and decide on something special the kids would like to do.
We’d end the day joining my brother, his wife and their twins for dinner (with my parents if they were in town), and relaxing until it’s time for them to go to bed.
Grace – age 11
If you weren’t a professional basketball player what would you want to be?
I would want to be able to influence young adults to be strong leaders in their communities.
Conrad – age 13
Do you feel like your kids feel pressured because you are an all-star basketball player?
I hope not. My wife and I work very hard to make sure they are allowed to explore their own talents. My son plays soccer and my daughter is learning to play tennis. If something else comes up that peaks their interest, we’ll see about them exploring that as well….as long as they are doing well in school.
Kids are missing out on doing stuff at home because they are always having to go to club practices, select games, and sports-related training.
Kids should take advantage of new experiences and opportunities, so they learn and grow from it.
Janel -(age 9) and Sadie-(age 13)
How do you find time to do stuff with your kids?
I do my best to make time. When I am at home during the season, I take them to school as often as I can and pick them up from school. I attend as many of their activities as I can. When I am on the road, we Facetime daily to talk about our days.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids or family?
Game night definitely. We play board games or trivia games when we are together.
Corey’L – age 14
If you could pick one lesson for your children to learn from you, what would it be?
I think that lesson would be to be respectful and to help others.
What basketball players influenced you when you were growing up?
I love watching college and professional basketball but my brother, CJ, definitely helped influence my love of basketball.
How do you stay mentally focused when you are behind in a game?
You have to stay focused on playing as a team and taking it one play at a time.