Chris Paul’s friendship with LeBron James might not be as loud as the one that James has with Dwyane Wade or Carmelo Anthony, but the two are very close. They’re close in age and came into the NBA around the same time. The two have seen each other grow as players on the court, and as such, have interesting things to say about each other. Paul was recently asked about what impresses him most in James, and his answer had less to do with basketball and more to do with how he’s handled himself off the court.
Chris Paul and LeBron James are longtime friends
Chris Paul is a part of the infamous Banana Boat Crew with James, Wade, and Anthony. The four have been seen hanging out, going on vacations together, and supporting causes with each other since all of them joined the league. Although Paul came into the league after the other three, they are all around the same age and have witnessed a lot in their long careers.
For the legendary LeBron James and Paul, their friendship has more layers. Paul is the President of the NBA players’ union, where James served as Vice President for many years. The two were instrumental in the negotiations that led to the 2011 CBA after a lockout cost part of the NBA season. Since then, the two have been admirers of each other and friends.
While the players have spent most of their careers in separate conferences and never played in playoff games, the two have competed against each other for 15 years and know each other well. As both enter the presumed twilights of their NBA careers, they are bound to be asked about each other every time they face off.
What did Chris Paul say about LeBron James?
LeBron James turned 35 at the end of 2019, and players across the league talked about his impact on the game and what makes him so special. Chris Paul spoke glowingly about his friend not as a basketball player, but as a person, with one trait resonating the most.
“I think probably one of the biggest things about Bron, if the man wakes up and uses the bathroom, somebody is gonna analyze how he did it. If he did it good or bad,” Paul told ESPN. “For all that he’s been dealt from a young age, just to see how he’s handled everything, man, as a friend and a brother, it’s unbelievable to see. People don’t realize how selfless he is.”
That has been a recurring theme for James since he entered the league. While he is inarguably one of the most prominent basketball players ever, James has had a relatively controversy-free career when one considers his scrutiny.
James excels at keeping his head on
James isn’t perfect, but when one considers everything he has been through, the fact that he is still a beloved figure in professional sports without any major controversies is impressive. He has been under the media spotlight since he was just a teenager, and while there were a few bumps in the road for him, he’s shown to be a positive role model, a family man, and a great ambassador for the league.
In a sports world where issues of assault and other legal matters have plagued the headlines, James’ controversies tend to focus more on the game. His decision to go to Miami, for example, was derided by people across the league, but compared to what other players do, it is small potatoes. And let’s not forget, “The Decision” was a huge fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of America. James has conducted himself as well as anyone who has been through everything he has been through could be asked to do.
NBA players are often forced to see each other as enemies on the court, but behind the curtains, many form bonds that are bigger than basketball. When a hypercompetitive athlete like Chris Paul speaks about a player as glowingly as he did, people will listen. The league is lucky to have LeBron James as its face, even if for just a few years longer.