Chris Paul is one of the game’s most fiery competitors, a player who wants to win much more badly than the rabid fans who cheer for him on a nightly basis.
It’s not surprising, then, that he would be moved to tears following a crucial postseason loss where his play down the stretch was a contributing factor to such a critical defeat.
The Clippers were tied with the Thunder 2-2 in the best of seven series, and L.A. held a seven-point lead on the road in Oklahoma City with just 49.2 seconds left in the pivotal Game 5.
Normally, that margin with that amount of time remaining is enough to seal the deal, but the Thunder stormed back to get the victory, before eliminating the Clippers in the very next game. And Paul, given both his competitive spirit as well as his late-game mistakes, took the loss especially hard.
It was all part of the Clippers’ blowing a seven-point lead in the final 49.2 seconds of Game 5 that sent the Clippers back to Staples Center facing an elimination game that they lost to end their season. Paul was so devastated he cried in the locker room afterward.
Four months later, the emotional fallout lingers.
“It would be lying to you to say I’d forgotten about it,” Paul said during a break on set. “It’s one of those things that I don’t want to forget, to tell you the truth. I think for me, I feel like you have to remember things like that and therefore you don’t want that feeling again. I know I don’t.”
This isn’t something to make fun of, and in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Real fans are emotionally invested in the outcome of their team’s favorite games, and I hate to break it to them, but the vast majority of players don’t care about these contests nearly as much. It’s a job for the most part, and once one game is finished, it’s onto the next one, often times in another city the very next night.
Players like Paul are rare in today’s NBA. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash have the same level of competitiveness, but they’re the only ones who immediately come to mind that share Paul’s passion.
There may be others, certainly, but the list is shorter than most fans would like to acknowledge. A report of a genuine show of emotion should only gain Paul more respect from those following the league, and anyone who would try to use this as a reason to mock the game’s best point guard should ask themselves what they truly want to see out of the players they idolize.