It was a rather disappointing All-Star weekend by most accounts.
But at least Chris Paul made it a little better.
After a lackluster Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston, after an embarrassing Slam Dunk Contest that included 36 missed dunks, after a round of musical performances that left many gagging, at least we had the Los Angeles Clippers' All-Star point guard to watch.
Granted, there wasn't much defense in the 2013 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, as could be expected. But in the West's 143-138 triumph over the East, it was about more than Paul's 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 15 assists. It was about heart.
Anyone who watched the six-time All-Star on Sunday night could tell he actually cared about the game, which seems rare these days, even as players compete for charities. When asked by David Aldridge of TNT why he bounced the ball between Chris Bosh's legs on a drive, he wasn't joking when he said it was the best way to get to the hoop given the way Bosh was defending him.
Paul was the catalyst of the West's win at the Toyota Center. Kevin Durant, who posted a game-high 30 points, said after Paul won the All-Star Game MVP, via the Houston Chronicle, “He deserved it...He had great passes, making steals, made big buckets. He played a hell of a game. It was a pleasure to play with him.”
For Paul, it will always be about more than himself or his accolades. After the West won $350,000 for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Share Our Strength's "No Kid Hungry" campaign on Saturday, he told NBA TV, "Anytime you can give back and help kids and help those in need, it's a special thing."
Paul gets it. He's a great player in his own right, but he understands being an NBA star is about more than preening. He knows that he has the ability to help those who are less fortunate, and you could see that by the way he played in the 2013 All-Star Game.
The 27-year-old exudes class and he leads by example. The NBA should feel lucky to have an individual with his character more than anything.
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