Observe Chris Paul on and off the court and you’ll notice the meticulous detail he puts into maintaining the excellence of his CP3 brand. Even more impressive than his attention to detail is that no matter where Paul goes, he brings a part of his family with him. He is always representing the Paul surname with the upmost respect.
That’s why it was no surprise that the Jordan event promoting Paul’s new shoe, the CP3.V, highlighted Paul’s humble North Carolina upbringing and his relationship with his family. Located on the 11th floor of the Cooper Building off of 9th Street and South Los Angeles Street in Downtown L.A., the Shrine of St. Paul featured a gallery of Paul’s basketball background before the pros, including his elementary days (exhibit No. 1), high school years (exhibit No. 2) and his college career (exhibit No. 3).
The atmosphere was angelic — the room itself was bleach white and spacious, with dozens of oversized windows allowing sun to seep in. Besides the three exhibits, the makeshift walls that the shoes were placed upon were also white but had neon pink, orange and blue lines dashed across them, serving as the perfect microcosm of Paul’s playing style and temperament – a mix of business in the front and party in the back.
Paul took the paradoxical metaphor a step further, comparing himself to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. On the court, he has no friends and is willing to destroy anyone standing in his way. Off the court, he’s a loving guy who likes to hang out and have fun with his family and NBA counterparts.
It’s difficult to add much speculation to a sneaker event that had little to do with basketball. I will say, attending a Jordan event is a unique experience — it’s as high class and impressive as one would imagine. The sequence of events was carefully calculated and planned out. The execution was impeccable and the event went smoothly. Like Paul on the court, it was pure harmony.
Though there wasn’t an opportunity to pick Paul’s brain about adjusting to life as a Clipper, there was plenty of time to grasp what he values most, to see what type of person he is and to comprehend why he plays the way he does. Paul is almost selfless and humble to a fault. Although most people love their families and would do anything for them, there’s something about Paul’s relationship with his family that feels different — it’s organic and genuine. He truly cares for them and wants them to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He publicly embraces them, refusing to cast them away in the shadows.
The CP3.V shoe itself features various odes to his family and childhood, including dots on the back representing the dates of his wedding (9/10/11) and the birth of his son (5/24/09), and limited color ways for his two alma maters (West Forsyth High School and the University of Wake Forest). On the shoe there are 61 triangles, in honor of his late grandfather who has murdered at 61.
Paul’s brand is at an all-time high. He’s in Los Angeles, one of the fashion and media capitals of the world, and now has countless outlets at his disposal. This isn’t the subtle or quiet areas of North Carolina or New Orleans — this is Hollywood. In the land of the stars, Paul is becoming one of the brightest. However, that doesn’t preclude him from remembering his past. No matter the outcome of his tenure in Los Angeles, Paul will remain humble and stay true to his roots.
When Chris Paul came to Los Angeles, he didn’t just bring Lob City — he brought North Carolina too.
Special thanks to Robert Santini for these photos.