Chris Paul doesn’t really care if you don’t like him, or the way he plays.
Just don’t get in the way of the 33-year-old future Hall of Famer’s title aspirations.
CP3 and the Rockets, down 0-2 to the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, are “in this window” of what could be his last best chance at an elusive ring.
Per The Ringer:
He says the only regret he’s ever had in his basketball life is that he wishes he’d taken rehab more seriously after his first major injury, a meniscus tear in 2010. “But as far as the way I play? No. If anybody doesn’t like the way I play, I don’t care. I don’t care. I play that way, and if you don’t like it then …” He trails off, then shrugs. “If I’m not on your team, then don’t pick me. Don’t play with me. That’s all there is to it.”
[Last] month, Paul took a night off to fly to Brooklyn, where he joined his close friends LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony at the Barclays Center to watch the fourth member of the Banana Boat crew, Dwyane Wade, play his final NBA game. Back in Utah, Paul brings it up, offhand. “It hits you,” he says. “Like, man, D-Wade is the closest person to me who’s retired.” Wade recorded a triple-double in his final game. Paul felt thrilled to watch his friend walk away on his own terms. But in Wade’s last steps off the court, Paul couldn’t help but see his own. “When that day comes for me,” he says, “it’s going to be really, really hard.”
He points out to the court. “There’s no competition like this, though,” he says. Part of it is the sense of camaraderie, the bonds formed with teammates over a shared goal. “I do love that,” he says. But that’s not really it. That’s not the thing that enraptures him, not the force so intoxicating he allows it to consume his life. “It’s really like, this is the only way to simulate some type of pressure.” The game provides a certain emotional intensity, fully manufactured but no less real. He nods, as if affirming his own words.
“I think I just really like the feeling of the pressure.”