Thunder fans have come a long way with Chris Paul, to put it mildly. Here are some moments from our back pages that parallel the shifting appreciation in Oklahoma City for CP3.
A juicy CP3/Westbrook trade idea from 2010! “We all enjoyed Chris Paul while he was here. Without him and the excitement he brought, we probably don’t have a team. But he’s not coming here.”
“Watch Chris Paul fall down against the Thunder”, circa 2011. A throwback to OKC’s longstanding distaste for his game, pinned on his flopping.
Reacting to the stunning Westbrook/Paul swap. “Paul’s future in blue will remain in question.”
At Media Day, Paul makes a great second first impression: “CP3 is a true pro. Thunder fans who have been hesitant to embrace Paul because of any past antics with the Clippers and Rockets will be hard pressed not to warm to him after he name dropped so many Oklahoma-isms.”
Chris Paul’s NBA Circle of Life. “We should cherish Paul, a future Hall of Famer and one of the pioneers of professional basketball in OKC, while he’s still here.”
When Chris Paul’s trade value was more urgent than the Thunder’s playoff chances, Justin Hickey suggested patience from the Thunder was the best approach. (It was.)
The untucked-jersey game. When we did an about-face and fell in love with Chris Paul’s rule mastery.
Chris & Shai: The Master & His Apprentice. When we realized something truly special was developing in the Thunder’s backcourt.
And when Lu Dort was a gleam in our eye, Chris Paul was doing double-duty as a mentor. “Chris Paul has been seen at multiple Blue games this season, accompanied by teammate and rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.”
11-14 record. Down by 21 to the Bulls. Remembering when Chris “Clutch” Paul forged the Thunder’s comeback identity and turned the season around.
At midseason, Paul got an “A” grade. “He’s been the ultimate professional, even with an uncertain future. It doesn’t matter how long or short his stay is: he has cemented his legacy with the organization even if/when he is traded.”
“Oh yes, the fourth quarter. Otherwise known as Chris Paul O’clock.” When CP3 and the Thunder snatched the 5 seed with a comeback win over the Kings.
Paul ruthlessly dismissed Knicks trade rumors with on-and-off the court prowess. “How much better is Paul than any Knicks player? Let us count the ways.”