Chris Paul has been right in the thick of things from the get-go as the NBA tries to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
He was there when Rudy Gobert tested positive for the illness, which essentially shut the season down right there as Paul’s Oklahoma City Thunder were about to host Gobert’s Utah Jazz back in March.
And every moment since, he’s been in the middle of things as president of the National Basketball Players’ Association, making a name for himself as one of the most influential players in the league as he tirelessly works with the league to restart the season.
Paul has been the NBPA president since 2013 and has served on its executive committee for 11 years. That experience couldn’t have prepared him for an unprecedented situation like the one the NBA finds itself in, but Paul has made for a great middleman, keeping other players informed and involved with any discussions the league has with the NBPA to bring back basketball.
“I could literally talk about (restart plans) all day with a passion and excitement of knowing that, when a conversation does happen with the league or with Adam, there’s no pressure of saying like, ‘This is what I want to do,'” Paul said, via ESPN’s Royce Young.
Paul speaks with commissioner Adam Silver on a regular basis and is there for his fellow players to ask questions, seek advice or open up to him.
“Hell, I need to vent at times,” Paul said. “I just look at it as guys are actually concerned and they want to know what’s going on. They should have a say in their future.”
For NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, Paul’s accessibility and participation has played a huge role in the steps the league has taken to resume the season.
Perhaps it has to do with the temperament that comes along with his position on the court.
“I frequently joke about this, he’s obviously a point guard and his claim to fame in terms of skill set is his ability to read the room, read the floor and pass the ball,” Roberts said. “He does that in meetings too.”