Chris Paul Says Night NBA Shut Down Because of Coronavirus Was 'Crazy'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2020

Oklahoma City Thunder's Chris Paul plays against the Boston Celtics during an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March, 8, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul was on the floor when his team's game against the Utah Jazz was suddenly called on March 11.

The confusion on the court right before tipoff preceded a series of events that included the announcement of a Jazz player (big man Rudy Gobert) testing positive for COVID-19 and the league suspending its current season with no set date for return.

"It was crazy," Paul said of that night, per Mark Medina of USA Today. "My first instinct was to get back to my family. Everyone thinks about the game and what happened that night. But my first instinct was to get back to my family, to my wife and kids."

The 10-time All-Star revealed he has helped his children with their homework, included them in his daily workouts and even had his son Chris present when he lost to WNBA star Allie Quigley in the first round of the league's H-O-R-S-E competition.

He has maximized the family time after spending much of the season away from their home in California.

"This is the most we've all been able to be together," Paul said. "That's the case for a lot of families at home. It's one of those things where you learn new things and learn not to take some things for granted."

Paul's role as the president of the National Basketball Players Association has kept him busy too as the league discusses contingency plans for how it will handle a potential return to the regular season and eventually playoffs in light of the pandemic.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the NBA is "looking at a 25-day return-to-basketball window" for individual workouts and team training camps before any return to games, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told TNT's Ernie Johnson there won't be any decisions made about coming back until May at the earliest.

If the season does return, Paul's Thunder will be well-positioned to make noise in the Western Conference.

OKC is 40-24 and sitting in the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference but just one game behind the fourth-seeded Jazz and 2.5 games behind the third-seeded Denver Nuggets. Unless the league elects to jump straight into the playoffs, the Thunder will have an opportunity to make a final push up the standings before any postseason.

For now, though, Paul is enjoying his time with his family as there remains uncertainty about when basketball and sports across the landscape will return.

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