Who would have thought that Chris Paul would turn into the main character in an NBA fairy tale?
The former five-star inductee and fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft had received his first career Hall of Fame ballot. For most NBA fans, Paul has always been CP3, one of the game’s most dominant guards over the last 15 seasons. He was always expected to hold his position, at least, against the best of the best.
But now Paul is playing a new role in the eyes of NBA fans. We used to see him as a star with unmistakable basketball skill and a high IQ that should have really made him a top-level winner. As the leading star with the Los Angeles Clippers during the height of his career, Paul received such high expectations and often did not come true.
Now, he’s taken on a different role – as the lovable underdog in his quest for glory, he hasn’t achieved many stars in the league at his age.
Paul led the Phoenix Suns last night in their closing match 4 against the Nuggets with 37 points. It is one of the best performances of any player 36 years of age or older. Now the Suns are in the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2010, just one year after the same team finished five under 0.500 games without Paul.
It’s strange to see Paul thrive as the underdog, but ironically, this is where he sees himself best. In a post-game interview after the Suns win,
“I wasn’t that phenomenon. I wasn’t necessarily supposed to be here. It wasn’t always sweet to me,” Paul said. I always had to grind. I love that mentality. This is what I have always been, and I will continue to be.”
Hopefully, Paul will continue to make his way to the NBA Finals and earn that first elusive championship. This is arguably the best opportunity he has ever had to completely change the perception of his career.
In a league that’s been so focused on superhero teams for the past decade, it’s nice to see a star like Paul take on a different narrative for a change. It’s exactly the kind of happy-go-lucky story the league needs at this point in time.
It’s crazy how life works sometimes, Chris Paul can finally reach the top of the mountain like the NBA Cinderella we never thought we’d get.