Chris Paul was preparing to play another game in his 15-year career. He couldn’t imagine it would be his last time on court for months. He could not have known that the country was going to change.
It was just over a month ago that the Thunder was preparing to host the Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena, preparing to be notified, when it was revealed that Rudy Gobert, of Utah, who has since recovered , had a positive test for coronavirus. The match has been canceled. Then the NBA season was suspended indefinitely.
“That night was crazy,” said Paul recently. Told USA TODAY Sports. “My first reflex was to return to my family. Everyone thinks about the game and what happened that night. But my first reflex was to find my family, my wife and my children. “
During his first season in Oklahoma City, Paul spent little time with his wife, Jada, 10-year-old son Chris, and 7-year-old daughter Camryn, who live in Encino, California. Even though the future Hall of Famer had another incredible season while leading the Thunder to a surprising 40-24 record, Paul was grateful for the away time.
“This is the most that we have all been able to be together,” said Paul. “This is the case for many families at home. It’s one of those things where you learn new things and learn not to take certain things for granted.
“I’m a hell of a competitor. But above all, I think I am a human being. “
Paul’s gratitude has only grown since Jacqueline Cruz, the mother of the Timbewolves Karl-Anthony Towns center, died of the new coronavirus. Paul reached out to his friend, offering to “be a sounding board,” while acknowledging, “At 34, I don’t think I’m strong enough to endure what he’s going through.”
“It has been a while to understand how real time is with my family,” said Paul.