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OKC Thunder: Chris Paul discusses players' call with Michelle Obama

Chris Paul laughed when asked how his players’ union booked Michelle Obama as a guest speaker for a Sunday call. 

“We know people,” the Thunder point guard said before turning serious. “It’s not even about that. I think it’s more about her willingness. She came on and she was amazing.” 

The former first lady addressed NBA and WNBA players about the importance of voting. Paul, president of the National Basketball Players Association, said it was the first time in his career that NBA and WNBA players came together for a joint call. 

"The more we encourage each other to vote,” Paul said, “not just every four years, but two years in your local elections, the more we do that, the more our voices will really be heard.” 

Obama and Paul are co-chairs of When We All Vote, a non-profit and non-partisan organization that seeks to increase voter participation. 

Paul didn’t know how many players were on the call with Obama, but he said everyone unmuted themselves at the end to say thank you. 

Paul, when speaking to the media from Orlando, has prioritized a social justice platform. He said players will continue to put pressure on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to charge the Louisville police officers responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death. 

Fighting for systemic change will continue to be a focus of the NBA’s restart. Paul was asked what success will look like when the games are over. 

“That’s a great question,” he said. “Coming down here, what we have an opportunity to do is use our collective voices, obviously to spread the messages, but we also get a chance to educate each other. 

“Guys come to a meeting to discuss things, and two guys who never had a relationship figure out that they have a common interest in whatever it may be, whether it’s financial literacy, whether it’s police reform, whether it’s education, whether it’s HBCUs. Guys can start to build together.” 

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Chris Paul (3) speaks to teammates during a timeout between the third and fourth quarters in an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. Oklahoma City won 109-106. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City's Chris Paul (3) speaks to teammates during a timeout between the third and fourth quarters in an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. Oklahoma City won 109-106. [Nate Billings/The...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3bf8f027c20dcb3756a9b7c324caf833.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Chris Paul (3) speaks to teammates during a timeout between the third and fourth quarters in an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. Oklahoma City won 109-106. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]" title="Oklahoma City's Chris Paul (3) speaks to teammates during a timeout between the third and fourth quarters in an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. Oklahoma City won 109-106. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Chris Paul (3) speaks to teammates during a timeout between the third and fourth quarters in an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. Oklahoma City won 109-106. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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