OKC Thunder: Chris Paul on NBA the Jump ‘Oh man, we want to play’

Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder in action against the New York Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder in action against the New York Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder captain Chris Paul joined NBA the Jump offering insight on the upcoming Blackballed series, the NBA suspension and The Last Dance.

The opening segment of NBA the Jump today featured OKC Thunder captain Chris Paul and filmmaker Will Packer. They were on hand to discuss their documentary series Blackballed that covers the days leading up to Game 4 of the 2014 series between the LA Clippers and Golden State Warriors.

More specifically, it covers what was going on behind the scenes after voice recordings dripping with racist comments of then Clippers owner Donald Sterling were leaked.

The series debuts on Monday, May 18th on Quibi and will run daily episodes thereafter. Both Chris Paul and Will Packer played a pivotal role in developing this docuseries. Paul is featured prominently in the series and was a producer while Packer is one of the executive producers.

Fans have feasted on episodes of The Last Dance chronicling the last season of Michael Jordan‘s Chicago Bulls and the completion of their second three-peat. This series will be equally compelling but with a much darker subject matter.

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” – Chris Paul’s message to son Chris Jr.

The pressure the Clippers were under was intense and the fact they had to deal with this in the middle of the playoffs was unprecedented. The public, other sporting leagues, and teams were all looking at the Clippers players to see how they planned to deal with the situation.

As Nichols noted, for the players to be put in this position was crazy. On one hand, the players considered boycotting the game but that meant fans and viewers would be punished for Sterling’s actions. On the other hand, the players couldn’t just ignore the situation as everyone was looking at them to make some sore of statement or action since race relations were at the heart of the matter.

Consider the fact that the leaked recordings occurred approximately 24 hours before Game 4, so as intense as things were there was very little time to process what the appropriate action would be.

Instead of boycotting the players inevitably chose to handle it via a silent protest. They gathered at center court dropping their Clippers warm-up jackets on the Warriors logo and wore their warm-up shirts inside out so the logo couldn’t be viewed.

Adam Silver had just begun his tenure and this became his first major situation to address on the job. As for Paul, not only was he the captain of the Clippers he was also the recently elected NBPA President (August 2013) so his role in dealing with this took on additional emphasis.

Not to mention, as a father he knew his son would eventually look back on this time and decisions he and the team made.   Chris Sr. noted Chris Jr. was born in 2009 but now he’s old enough to watch the series, understand the situation and ask questions.

Paul noted “this was bigger than the game” and how important it was to show his son how you deal with adversity. His message to his son provided the most poignant moment of the show as Paul said he told Chris Jr. “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!

Packer called the situation with Sterling a watershed moment for the NBA with him getting banned for life.

Nichols discussed the docuseries but also asked the OKC Thunder captain if he thought the NBA would return this season and if he’s been watching The Last Dance.

Like CP3 has responded to the frequently asked question of a return, he is hopeful but safety takes precedence. Regarding the NBA returning the OKC Thunder point guard said:

"More from Thunderous IntentionsStealing one player from every Southwest Division team for the OKC ThunderShould the OKC Thunder chase after a disgruntled hometown hero?3 OKC Thunder players who can step up in Aleksej Pokusevski’s absenceAleksej Pokusevski sidelined approximately 6 weeks with ankle injuryDamian Lillard does not fit with the OKC Thunder“Honestly, we want to play, oh man, we want to play, we want to play bad too. And, I think that’s the consensus for the guys around the league. We want it to be as safe as possible, but the biggest thing is we miss the game”"

Nichols asked how the league get the situation to being “safe” for players to return. Paul said he doesn’t have the answer but the powers that be are working hard to resolve the situation and figure out what is the new norm.

Packer noted he is hopeful for the NBA to return and how important sports are. CP3 chimed in joking he’s so desperate for sports he was watching the cornhole championships the other day.

When asked about The Last Dance, Paul noted he reached out to Michael Jordan to tell him that period of basketball was why many of the players are in the league today. He also noted how the times have changed since there wasn’t social media or YouTube in the 90s so his mother planned dinner around the game.

Again, ‘Blackballed’ debuts on Monday, May 18th, so make sure to download the Quibi app in order to watch what is sure to be a compelling docuseries.

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