Chris Paul addresses the media for the first time since Kobe Bryant's death
Chris Paul told Luguentz Dort that Kobe Bryant would have been proud of him.
“Because he had 23 points and no assists,” Paul explained to reporters after the Thunder’s 120-100 win at Sacramento Wednesday. “Kobe was all about being aggressive and staying aggressive.”
Paul’s voice wavered, but he cracked a smile. On Wednesday, Paul took the court for the first time since Bryant died in a helicopter crash Sunday. Paul missed the Thunder’s game Monday for personal reasons. He and Bryant not only played against each other for over a decade and played with each other on Team USA, but their families knew each other.
Paul wrote in an emotional Instagram post Tuesday that he and Bryant had “prearranged” a marriage between Paul’s son Chris Jr. and Bryant’s daughter Gianna. But Gianna, 13, also died in the crash.
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“Probably the best thing I could have done was to get out there and play,” Paul said after the game Wednesday. “Kobe wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
Paul played for 26 minutes of the blowout. His shooting wavered – he shot just 3-of-12 from the field – but he also added 10 rebounds and seven assists.
“It’s great when it’s a team effort like that,” Paul said of the win. “Everyone gets a chance to play and share the ball. It’s fun. Being back around them guys is therapeutic.”