Think about this scenario. You are heading back to play in the city where you had the best years of your NBA career. Your team has had an up-and-down season and is currently on a five-game losing streak. You go out, dish out 13 assists, and help your team end that season-long five-game losing streak, and that is not even the best part of your week.
That is the scenario future Hall of Famer and current Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul found himself in the last two days. First, as mentioned, the Suns snapped their five-game losing streak with a 111-95 win over the Clippers at the Staple Center. Then Paul jumped on a plane to make it to his graduation 3,000 miles away Friday morning.
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul graduates from Winston-Salem State University. pic.twitter.com/nQccdsl5Yj— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) December 16, 2022
Paul graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication from Winston-Salem State, a historically black university. Paul started his education in 2003 when he attended Wake Forrest University. Paul left after two years for what many would say is a good reason: to become the fourth overall pick of the then New Orleans Hornets.
Paul first enrolled at Winston-Salem State in 2020. After the Suns ' victory on Thursday night, Paul was asked about his graduation during the post-game press conference.
“Man it’s cool, I’m excited, Long time coming,” Paul said. “To be able to go back home and do that with my family is something that snuck up kinda quick but I’m probably most excited that I get to spend the next 10 days with my wife and my kids.”
Paul, a Winston-Salem native assists didn't stop once the buzzer sounded Thursday night. Paul donated $2,500 to each of his fellow graduate's Greenwood accounts.
Here is more detail: Chris Paul is helping each WSSU graduate fund their Greenwood account by depositing $100 in the account and covering the $200 per month membership for ELEVATE for a full year. In total, this is a $2,500 value for each WSU December 2022 graduate.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) December 16, 2022
Greenwood is a digital banking platform for Black and Latino individuals and businesses, and works with the Chris Paul Family Foundation. Each graduate will receive a Greenwood Elevate membership for one year and a Greenwood accounts with a $100 deposit for a total value of $2,500 per graduate.
This continues his emphasis on shining a light on HBCU schools. For example, he held a charity basketball game at WSSU homecoming in 2012 during the NBA lockout that featured LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and a host of other all-time NBA greats. In addition, he created an internship pipeline at A&T and produced a docuseries highlighting the plight of HBCUs in college athletics.
The graduation ceremony doesn't end Paul's busy week as Paul's second annual Boost Mobile Chris Paul HBCU Challenge will take place in Las Vegas as four HBCUs — Hampton University, North Carolina A&T, Texas Southern, and Norfolk State will participate in Vegas MGM Grand over the upcoming weekend.
Most school graduations will have a local businessman, or maybe the guy who owns two used car dealerships but not too many can say they had a future Hall of Famer not only at the graduation but throwing his hat in the air right alongside them. Chris Paul continues to assist on and off the court.