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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Clemente Almanza

Chris Paul opens up about relationship with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Even though he was only with the Oklahoma City Thunder for one season, the impact Chris Paul left is still evident.

After they were both traded to the Thunder following a pair of blockbuster deals by OKC, Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander quickly bonded and formed a genuine relationship.

The two players formed OKC’s starting backcourt during its surprising 2019-20 campaign in which the Thunder went 44-28 and lost in the first round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets.

The then-34-year-old Paul took the then-21-year-old Gilgeous-Alexander under his wing and played an important role in his eventual blossoming to superstardom.

In a “Point Forward” podcast appearance, Paul told former NBA player Evan Turner how special his relationship with Gilgeous-Alexander is and reminisced on his time in OKC.

“I try not to get emotional when I talk about Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander),” Paul said. “That was my first year living without my family, without my wife and my kids in LA.

“Shai, he just a basketball head. You show me somebody who love basketball and crazy about their family, then me and them gonna be tight. Shai would come over to my house before practice just to eat because I had a chef. …

“He’s so good when it comes to hooping and an even better person.”

This is a pretty strong endorsement by Paul as the future Hall-of-Famer gushed over Gilgeous-Alexander both as a basketball player and person. It’s clear they built a special bond that has lasted beyond their one season together.

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