Star with a difference

Star with a difference

Star with a difference

Aiming high: An in-form Chris Paul spells trouble for his rivals.

It all starts with a gentle trot down the court. A step to the right, another to the left and then bam! He has either crossed over a defender on his way to a classy off-the-board finish or has pulled back quite the distance for an in-your-face jumper.

That’s Chris Paul in a nutshell but there’s more to the five-time All Star than just a couple of moves. He is a fierce leader, a caring mentor, a loving father and more than anything else he is a die-hard fanatic of basketball, and that is the base atop of which Paul -- CP3 for the ones that are more familiar with the New Orlean Hornets’ point guard -- continues to build sculptures of utmost grace on.

“You know it’s a great honour to be a part of the All Star team for the fifth time in a row. It’s great to contest with some of the best names in the business. I’m privileged to be a part of the All Star team. These are things every kid in America dreams of and for it to happen to me five times... is quite surreal,” said Paul in a telephonic interview with Deccan Herald.

Western Conference’s Paul in his elements is a force to reckon with and the rest of the teams know that. Why else do you suppose the big brown-eyed little wonder keeps finding his place in the All Star team? To put Paul’s achievement in perspective, you just have to look at the supremely talented and incredibly underrated Chicago Bulls’ star power forward Dennis Rodman, who could only get himself into the reckoning on a mere two occasions.

Yes, Rodman played a very short while and yes — fortunately or unfortunately — he played alongside arguably the greatest basketball player in the history of the sport -- Michael Jordan -- to not be the centre of attention. That being said, Paul has had his share of legends to contest against for a place in ‘The Team’.

Born on May 6, 1985, Paul was drafted by the Hornets in 2005 for the 2006 season and won the rookie of the year award that season. But that was far from enough for him to get to the league of Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard Kobe Bryant or even the latest sensation Lebron James (then in Cleveland Cavaliers, now in Miami Heat).


The one thing that refuses to get Paul on the highlight reel day in and day out is the fact that he is a playmaker and he lacks the ability go over the rim. There are times when he really gets the air time going and throws down a pretty wicked dunk but it’s far from what a Lebron or Vince Carter, aka Vinsanity, can do. That has been the drawback, in terms of grabbing some attention, but the world is slowly coming to understand the man behind the ball.

“Ah! my style of play.. um... it’s a give-it-everything-you’ve-got kind of a thing you know. That’s one of the biggest things I learnt from Michael (Jordan),” said Paul. “Michael gave it everything, everytime he stepped on the wooden floor and that’s one thing he has told me to always do. I guess I’m doing that well.” Paul endured a career-threatening knee injury a year ago but that is a thing of the past as the man from North Carolina is back and continues to harrow one defender after the other. “Oh man, that injury was real bad. I had trouble staying away from the game for so long. The good thing is that, it has made me a better player. Now, I have learnt a lot of things I probably would not have learnt if I was not injured. I also got to spend some quality time with family,” Paul said.

The All Star game at the Staples Centre on Feb 20 exemplified Paul’s game. Standing next to Kobe, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant, Dever Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony and Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love to name a few, Paul was shadowed — literally — but that did not stop him from helping them along in their 148-143 win over the Eastern Conference.

At the end of the day, the big boys stole the thunder with their pyrotechnics but it was Paul that set the air brigade up for the slam.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox