An Interview With: Chris Paul

MARK STEVENS:  I’d like to welcome Chris Paul.  You just got done playing in the Pro-Am with Davis Love.  If you want to talk about playing with Davis as he gets ready for the Ryder Cup.

CHRIS PAUL:  It was an unbelievable feeling.  I’ve had an opportunity to play a lot of basketball all over the world but when I found out I got paired with Davis, I was like a little kid, excited.

I watch golf all day, every day.  We were actually in London at the Olympics and my brother had Slingbox on his computer.  So we were finding a way to watch the PGA Championship and different things like that.

To actually meet him and see that he’s an even better guy than everybody talks about on TV was a pretty good feeling.

MARK STEVENS: Thank you.  Questions?

Q.  Chris, what did you learn from Davis out there today as far as your golf game?

CHRIS PAUL:  Too much.  I can’t wait to go play against my dad and brother now after all the tips.  He told me to get closer to the ball, swing easier, which is easy for him to say but, man, just it’s not even just about golf.

Just to know how much he’s accomplished over his career and he’s the Ryder Cup Captain and he just walks around like he’s nobody, you know.  Like I said, it was just a great honor to be around him and really get to know him.

Q.  Chris, they said during the broadcast of the gold medal game that your wife is due with your second child.  I believe it’s this week.  They might have gotten it wrong, maybe a little bit later. 

On behalf of married men everywhere, how did you talk her into letting you play today?

CHRIS PAUL:  My wife is actually due tomorrow.

Q.  What are you doing here?

CHRIS PAUL:  Let’s say I have a great wife.  She knew how much this meant to me to come down here and be a part of this.  She’s okay.  I talked to her since we finished and the good thing about this, too, this is basically home for me.  I’m 20 minutes away from home so when my brother was walking around the course, his phone was on vibrate, wasn’t on ring but it was on vibrate just in case she called and I had to run-off one tee.

Q.  Chris, have you just thought about the Olympic experience and kind of reflected a little bit?  That was your second Gold Medal.

CHRIS PAUL:  I really haven’t had an opportunity to reflect on it because once I got home and spent time here at home yesterday and even today, I almost forget that I was just in London two days ago.

So I honestly haven’t had an opportunity to reflect on it because it seems like it was such a blur and I don’t remember too much right now.  It’s just all so crazy when you’re on a whirlwind like this.  I feel honored and privileged.

Q.  The brotherhood of stars from the Triad is growing.  You see Webb play at Wake, you played at Wake. 

To see these guys, Carl, even, doing well you say, hey, we’re all kind of from the same area.  What does it mean to you?

CHRIS PAUL:  It means a lot.  It’s crazy for me to find out more and more people are from North Carolina.  I had an opportunity to meet Carl before I started my round today and he came up and introduced himself?  For what?  Like I didn’t know him.  He told me he’s from the Carolinas and grew up here.  I got excited.  I’m like, “Where?  I’ve been here my whole life.”  It’s.

Pretty cool to know that these famous people are from the same area that I’m from.  Same thing like with Davis.  Spent a lot of time in Charlotte.  Even though he went to that other school (laughter), I told him I wouldn’t hold that against him.  It’s a really good feeling.

Q.  When did you take up golf?

CHRIS PAUL:  When did I take up golf.  I started playing after the ’08, ’09 playoffs after we lost to Denver.  The first time I ever picked up a golf club was in college with Bill Haas.

I was a freshman and Bill was a senior at Wake and he was actually roommates with Josh Howard, and Bill used to think he could play basketball so we tried to go out and hit a golf club one time.  That’s the first time I ever did it.

Q.  Weren’t you a Carolina fan growing up?

CHRIS PAUL:  Then I woke up (laughter).

Q.  Somewhat on that topic, what was it like being a Demon Deacon playing for Coach K and if you could take us inside that huddle at the start of the 4th quarter you, LeBron, Carmelo, Kevin Durant, one point game, Gold Medal on the line?  What was said?

CHRIS PAUL:  Playing for Coach K, it’s easy now but in ’06, 2006 was my first time playing on the National Team and Coach K is the coach.  It was tough.  I was one year removed from college.  He was still the enemy, you know.

And now knowing him on a personal basis, knowing his wife and family, Coach Chris Collins and Wojo, those guys are my family for life, for life.

I truly love Coach K and his family and everything he stands for.  And when you’re in college you don’t really know each other.  The only thing I knew from him was he was sitting on the other bench at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

He’s great and I think the world of him and that last huddle in the 4th quarter, pulled all the guys in and told them we represent more than just us, we represent everyone here at home that’s cheering and celebrating for us and we’ve come way too far to lose.

Q.  What was your relationship with Webb Simpson, him being a fellow Demon Deacon and talk about the success he’s had over this past year.

CHRIS PAUL:  We were good friends in college.  He was actually roommates with one of my really good friends, Cameron Stanley, and I knew his wife, Dowd, also really well and so Webb is just a great guy.

I know everybody says that but it’s the truth.  And Webb played in the Zurich in New Orleans when we were in the playoffs a couple years ago and actually went out there and watched all 18 holes.  I walked all 18 holes with Webb when he had that tough loss to Bubba at the Zurich.

We text, you know, often and different things like that and I’m just happy to see Webb playing great because he’s one of the guys that absolutely deserves it.

Q.  If asked, would you play for Team USA in 2016?

CHRIS PAUL:  I will take that up with my wife and my kids at the time.  You know, I’m not sure.  I’m sure I probably would say yes, you know, but there’s nothing like playing on that team, you know, and being able to represent your country.  It’s something you never get used to.

Q.  Highlight of your career?

CHRIS PAUL:  No question.  When you’re there, opening ceremonies and you realize this is the biggest team, the best team that you’ll ever be on, and the track, everybody who runs track there on my team because we’re all playing for the USA.  So, there’s no greater feeling.

Q.  You mentioned the first tee.  Do you know where that ball went?

CHRIS PAUL:  No.  Luckily it didn’t hit a child (laughter).  I told them I would much rather shoot a free throw blindfolded in front of 30,000 people than hit a ball off the first tee.  I don’t understand how they get used to that.

Q.  Speaking of your kids, have you ever thought of entering them in a golf program or something like that when they get older?

CHRIS PAUL:  No question.  I tell people all the time, my son, he may not play basketball, he’s going to have a golf club in his hand or baseball bat, something with longevity so he can play for a long time.

My son actually has a pretty nice golf swing as it is.  He plays all day, every day.  He can tell you who Webb Simpson is, he loves Bubba Watson.  He’s actually a lefty.  Don’t ask me how that happened.

Q.  Did the medal bring you any luck today?

CHRIS PAUL:  You know what, we finished I think 13-under.  The leaders were 14-under so not as much luck as I would have liked.


Q.  Did you have a peek at it?  It was kind of traveling around the course with you?

CHRIS PAUL:  I got a pretty good image in my brain of what it looks like.

MARK STEVENS:  Thanks for your time today, Chris.

CHRIS PAUL:  No problem.  Thank you guys.


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