I feel like I’ve grown up at Dime alongside Chris Paul.
In the summer of 2005, I landed in New York City for the first time, a brand-new college grad in town for an interview about a full-time job. Days earlier, I was told, brand-new NBA Draft pick Chris Paul had sat in the same Dime Magazine office I did, making the media rounds and doing interviews for his first foray into the professional ranks.
While it would be another year before I got my full-time gig, CP3 made his impact instantly. In the spring of ’06, still trying to prove myself in my industry, I was assigned my first-ever national magazine cover story. The subject: Chris Paul, who was on his way to a dominant Rookie of the Year performance. It would also be his first-ever national magazine cover.
Since then, I’ve gone from a hopeful rookie trying to land his first job to a man with unforgettable experiences (good and bad) under my belt and a better-sounding title, still trying to get better at my craft.
Since then, Chris Paul has gone from a hopeful rookie to a man holding titles like NBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, All-Defensive Team. He’s experienced the glory of the playoffs and the pain of opportunities helplessly lost to injury. He is also still trying to get better at his craft. The difference: CP3 is already considered the best.
This summer was crucial for Chris Paul. After a knee injury cost him almost half the ’09-10 campaign, he entered an offseason in which the NBA power balance was turned over wondering where his team stood. In 2008, his New Orleans Hornets were a No. 2 seed in the West. In 2010, they were in the Lottery. As the calendar approaches 2011, they don’t have a roster boasting the talent of recognized contenders like the Lakers, Spurs, Heat, Celtics and Magic. So where does that leave a player in his sixth pro season, his franchise in financial panic-mode, individually aware of his athletic mortality, who has achieved everything — money, fame, stats, medals — except for the ultimate prize?
Chris Paul trade rumors persisted over the summer. Then they went away just as quickly. During that time, and up until this day, a lot of people wanted to put words in CP3’s mouth. Sources, real and perhaps created, came out of the woodwork with insider info that Paul was either itching to leave New Orleans in his dust, or conflicting knowledge that he planned to set down roots in N.O. and become the Drew Brees of basketball.
So we wanted to let Chris Paul tell his own story. On the eve of Hornets’ training camp, we went to New Orleans and did the photo shoot. Chris met us at A.L. Davis Playground, on the basketball court he had helped refurbish through his Chris Paul Foundation, and was cooperative enough to done some fall/winter outfits from Jordan Brand on a sweltering 100-degree day. (The ice draped around his neck and wrists surely kept him cool.) And around the time CP3 began leading the Hornets to an NBA-best 11-1 start to the regular season, he penned his cover story.
And, like any front office does for its centerpiece, we tried to put a solid supporting cast around him. Dime #61 also has a feature on reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans (not written by Tyreke, but a great job nonetheless by our man Sean Sweeney), Sacramento’s best hope of a return to relevancy. J.R. Smith shows off his newest and favorite tattoos — well, almost all of them — in our “Ink” feature. We have the blowout college and high school preview sections, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the 2010 L.A. Lakers championship rings, Q&A’s with celebrity hoopheads Kevin Hart and Wale, a look at the hottest sneaker spot in Spain, and our Style section is here to help you out in the holiday shopping season, plus much more.
Pick up Dime #61 on newsstands nationwide.