Clippers guard Chris Paul is part of a brand of superstar that came to prominence after the super-intense late-90's class that included Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant. Both of those guys and many of their peers are devoted family men, but basketball has always been the biggest part of their lives. Paul and his contemporaries (which includes friends LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony) have placed a premium on perspective. They don't want to just be athletes, but "brands," don't want to just lead players on the court, but provide guidance off it.
There's a strong conversation about whether they put too much of a premium on things beyond the court, but they've also focused a lot on family. Dwyane Wade is divorced, but has fought incredibly hard to not only remain a strong force in his sons' life, but to be the primary caretaker for them. LeBron James has made his sons a bigger and bigger part of his daily life as the years have gone on. And Chris Paul, well, his son is always around.
In an interview with HBO for Real Sports, Paul goes so far as to say that he may cut his career short to spend more time with his kids.
Transcription via FullyClips.com:
“Seriously. No one loves to play basketball more than I do, but I could honestly see myself stopping a little earlier or maybe premature just because I hate to miss anything with my kids. I would hate for my kids to, you know, recall those special moments in their life and I wasn't there.”
Paul took over as the President of the Players' Union this summer, and has consistently maintained a strong sponsorship profile. He'll be a strong candidate to take over a coaching position, front office position, generally anything he wants when he's done. Paul somehow manages this while also being one of the most competitive players in the league.
But he's also never made it to a Conference Finals. The Clippers have a new coach in Doc Rivers with championship experiece and a stronger roster. As Royce Young wrote earlier this month:
Consider: CP3 has been pretty great in the postseason despite his team's failures. In the Clippers' six-game elimination last postseason to Memphis, CP3 averaged 22.8 points and 6.3 assists. For his career, he averages 20.9 points and 9.5 assists in the postseason. He's been excellent. He just hasn't won. I'm not endorsing the ridiculous "RINGZZZ" argument so many do, but the question remains: If Chris Paul is so elite, shouldn't he be winning more?
There are a lot of good reasons he hasn't and excellent play excuses most of it, but with the Western Conference appearing to be as open as ever, and the Clippers considered favorites in some circles, the excuses are running thin for CP3. He's got Doc Rivers as his coach now, so no more blaming Vinny Del Negro's incompetency. He's got a rounded, deep roster around him with shooters, scorers and interior players, so no more blaming bad teammates. The pressure is on Paul this season to win, because eventually, he's going to stop getting the benefit of the doubt.
Paul is a balancing a lot in his life, trying to put emphasis on his career, this season, his business, the union, and his family. You start to see why he's such a natural point guard, managing the dribble while keeping an eye on the bigger play in front of him.