Chris Paul has been one of the best point guards in the NBA for over a decade now, but back in high school, the Thunder star had to overcome a great personal tragedy. During his high school basketball career, Paul suffered the loss of his grandfather, one of his biggest supporters. Instead of stepping away from the court for a while, Paul found a way to show how much his grandfather meant to him in spectacular fashion.
A proud grandfather
While Paul was playing basketball at West Forsyth High School in Winston-Salam, N.C., his biggest supporter was his grandfather. Paul’s grandad owned and ran a service station for many years, but any time his grandson had a game, he would shut up shop early. There was no way Paul’s grandad was going to miss an opportunity to watch him doing his thing on the basketball court, even if that meant losing money.
From happiness to sorrow in the blink of an eye
Paul was in bliss on November 14 because it was the day he accepted a full scholarship to play basketball at Wake Forest University. The very next day, Paul would receive some devastating news as he was getting ready to take to the basketball court. He discovered that his grandfather had been fatally wounded after he was attacked near his home.
Paul’s grandfather, Nathaniel Jones, was 61 years old when he passed away, with five juveniles charged for their involvement in ending his life. The number 61 was going to be very significant for Paul the next time he laced up his sneakers.
How to tribute his grandfather
The news was understandably devastating for Paul and his family to hear. Although he was still grieving, Paul hatched a plan that he knew would be a fitting tribute for his beloved grandad. When the point guard spoke to his aunt, she mentioned scoring 61 points for his grandad, but Paul doubted he could actually hit that figure. Even though he knew it was probably not likely to happen, that wasn’t going to stop him from trying.
When he was getting ready to score 61 points for his grandfather, Paul didn’t mention to his parents what he was planning on doing. The point guard stayed in the game and scored 24 points in the second quarter alone. Paul’s father, Robin, said he heard some kids talking about Chris scoring 61 points, but he didn’t believe them at the time.
Chris Paul kept on scoring throughout the game, and with just two minutes left, he had scored 59 points. He was so close to his target, and one more basket would do it. That’s when Paul drove to the basket, laid the ball up, and hit his 61 points target. Paul had drawn a foul and threw his free throw straight into the crowd. With his tribute to his grandfather complete, Paul walked right off the court, burst into tears, and embraced his father.
Later, Chris Paul would say that his tribute on the court for his grandfather would help with the hurt of losing him. Though, of course, he would never forget him.