During his recent trip to London with the Jordan Brand, two-time Dime cover guy Chris Paul agreed to check in with a diary of his summer travels. Here’s the first edition:
It’s my first time in London and I already know I want to come back. It’s a beautiful city rich with history.
But first and foremost, I got a chance to hoop with some young kids at Lilian Baylis in Lambeth, London. Michael Jordan visited Lilian Baylis’ old school (now a community sport center) back in 2006 and dedicated a basketball court back then. Today, the Jordan Brand has come in and reinvested, and what brings me here is the court re-dedication ceremony. The court is beautiful, with a mural of the infamous MJ “wings” on one side and me, ‘Melo, and D-Wade (my fellow Team Jordan guys) on the other paying homage to our Olympic win. And of course, the Jumpman at center court. The most impressive thing about the court are the jerseys that line the walls paying homage to the kids that have gone on to achieve great things.
When I arrived in the morning, they had gathered some of the best point guards in London for some intense drills. This one kid (they told me he was my biggest fan) was doing defensive slides while I was at a shooting station and he challenged me to a 1-on-1. I couldn’t back down, so I did a nice lil’ move and tossed up a little fade and it rimmed out. Lil’ man came back at me and hit a nice (but lucky) hook shot that fell. The place went wild and while I hate being scored on by anyone … if it had to happen, I’m glad it happened by the cool lil’ kid that said he was my biggest fan.
I tried to instill some knowledge in these kids about basketball and life. I told them basketball is half the battle … but the rest is up to you. It’s all about how you do in school and how you treat others. My former Coach (Skip) Prosser drilled the ABC’s in our team at Wake Forest:
A – Academics
B – Basketball
C – Character
In all, preparation is everything and if these young aspiring ballers took away anything from me, it’s to understand that more than anything.
Later in the day, we paid a visit to London’s House of Hoops, where my Jordan CP3.III C-3PO shoe was on display. It was cool to see how many people were there to show me luv!