Chris Paul Day Press Conference

March 2, 2013

Chris Paul Press Conference
March 2, 2013
Chris Paul Day presented by Lowe's Home Improvement
Joel Coliseum - Winston-Salem, N.C.

Photo Gallery

Opening Statement...
"First I just want to thank you guys for coming. I'm thrilled. I'm honored and privileged to be here. Happy to home, even if it's only for 18 hours, if that long. It's good to be here. I'm excited about seeing the guys play. I don't think that I've been to a game since I left school. I don't think so because I'm always playing, but it feels good to be here."

On what he gained from attending Wake Forest...
"The biggest advantage was also being here at home and being with my family. Everybody knows how close I am to my family and how much they mean to me. That was everything. Academics, the people that I got the opportunity to meet while I was in school here have been life-long relationships. Some people go to a certain college, and they may never go back, or they can only go back once every two or three years. I'm fortunately enough that this is home, so I always come back to Wake and Wake will always be a part of me."

On retirement of his jersey...
With the process, you just never know. It was maybe two years ago that Mr. Wellman and I had dinner and he told me. I got goose bumps because I've been here since I was kid looking up in the rafters and seeing all of the jerseys. This may be more of a different feeling because this is home. For my son, for my family who will always be here and will never leave here, it will be something that I can always come home. He [my son] is back there and probably doesn't know what's going on right now, but one of these when we come home I'll bring him over here and tell him I wasn't so bad."

On adding on the retirement of his jersey after winning the All-Star MVP...
"This is it. This is right there at the top it. It's one of the best days of my life, in that it's timeless and it's something that no one can take away from you. Warming up before games, you would look up there and you saw Dickie Hemric, Len Chappell, Randolph Childress and Tim Duncan. Timmy and Chil for my age were the best. Dickie Hemric has records that will never be broken, and Muggsy Bogues. I remember that even when I first got to school here the first thing I did was look at the records that I could break. I think I may have caught one of Muggsy's freshmen records or something like that, but the thing that is timeless that I keep saying is that your number and that picture of you hanging is something that will always be there."

On how you improved as a player at Wake Forest...
"I got so much better as a player with my two years here at Wake. The thing about me, and I always tell kids this story, is how everything is so surreal for me now in that I know that hard work and a lot of good things happened when I came here, but some of it was luck and by chance. It just happened. I wasn't supposed to be the starting point guard. A lot of kids nowadays are guaranteed a starting position. Taron Downey was here and had just won the ACC Championship, so I would have never started that first game of my college career had Taron not had that appendicitis. I know people say "don't ask what if," but I always say where I would have been had that not happened? If not for Downey and all of those guys that I played with, put my game went to another level. A lot of that has to do with Coach Prosser too.

On the adjustment going from high school to college...
"That's funny you ask that. This is what I always say. When I was at West (Forsyth) I played pick up ball, I would go to the YMCA and play all the time. The thing about high school is when you kick it to somebody who is open, they may make or miss the shot, you don't know. The biggest thing I remember about when I was high school is, I committed as a junior, so as a senior in high school I would come over and play with the guys. I remember Downey, every time I helped off him and left him open, he always made the shot. I used to be like, man when I played with the high school guys; they don't make it every time. College guys they make it all the time. And then going from college to the NBA, they don't miss. Seriously, if you leave a guy open he is going to make the shot. That was the biggest change. From high school to college it was like a kid playing with boys. And then from college to the NBA you are playing with grown men."

On what he learned from Skip Prosser and his grandfather...
"That is the toughest part. Obviously my grandfather, I would love him to be here. But Coach Prosser is the one who made this all happen. And it's hard for me to talk about him in any way because I get emotional. He's my guy, he knows it. I'm not here without him, no question. I just thought about it that (his banner is hanging there) too so that's pretty cool."

On giving back to the community...
"It's very important for me to keep giving back to the community. Some people ask me is it tough to go home. Don't you have to do this? I don't have to do anything first of all. The thing is I want to. Home and everything here at home made me who I am. They are the reason I wake up and get excited and why I love what I do. It's who I play for. Obviously I play for family for my kid, my wife and all the stuff like that. Everybody knows I have 336 on everything I do. I still have a 336 phone number. I lived in New Orleans, I could have had 504. I live in LA now, could be 310. It seems like a small thing but for me it's a lot. Your phone number can be whatever you want to but for me I always keep a 336 number just because."

On his son's future....
"Probably the coolest baby gift we got when my son was born was from Mr. Wellman. He sent a National Letter of Intent. Seriously, that is probably the coolest gift that I have ever got. And we still have it we have it at our house in LA, its little Chris's Letter of Intent to go to Wake Forest. I need to tell Mr. Wellman that today too that I have it, and I'm going to keep it and I will be sure to cash in because I know tuition is going up every year."

On his favorite memory at Wake Forest...
"There is too many of them. College is where you are molded. When I am with my high school friends, we always talk about that. I love the NBA, and I love everything about it, and I'm always grateful for where I am, but there is nothing like college, nothing like college. Even though I didn't leave home geographically, I left home. It was my first time not being under my parent's roof, and I started to become a man. I have many friends that play in the NBA now, and we always talk about college. Lebron who is like my brother, one of my best friends, I talk to him about college all the time. I tell him how much I miss it. The two years I had here were two of the best years of my life. I tell people all the time that the hardest decision that I ever made in all honesty was when I decided to leave and go to the NBA. There are a lot of things I remember about college, and I lot of things I don't. I'll never forget the night I was sitting in my dorm room with (Justin Gray) asking him should I leave or should I stay, I remember everything. The next day I was riding with Chris Davis who was on the football team at Wake. Me and (Justin) and Chris Davis were planning on living together the next year my junior year. They were looking for an apartment. And I never will forget I was crushed when they started looking for a two-bedroom. I went back and forth, people don't know that, but I went back and forth as to whether or not I should leave school and that's the hardest decision I ever made."

 

 

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