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Chris Paul on ‘the best way’ Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was honored during All-Star Weekend

Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Lakers, Thunder

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game was an emotional affair for quite a few stars in the league that were around long enough to play with or against Los Angeles Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant.

One star player that had plenty of battles with Bryant and had a close relationship with the future Hall of Famer was Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul went head-to-head with Kobe many times during his stint with the L.A. Clippers and knew how competitive he was, so he believes the Lakers icon was honored the right way during what turned out to be a very competitive All-Star Game in Chicago.

“It was tough early, especially early,” Paul said of the constant reminder of Kobe’s passing during the game. “For a lot of us, it’s still surreal. It’s not real until you start showing pictures and talking about it. But I think the best way we could honor Kobe, Gigi, and everyone involved was to play like we played, you know what I mean? Me and Russ kept talking about it, that’s one thing about Kobe, whenever he was on our team in the All-Star Game, there wasn’t none of that cool stuff. There wasn’t none of that. It was like, as long as they throw the ball up, let’s get to it.”

Paul’s squad, Team LeBron, ultimately came out victorious after one of the most competitive quarters in All-Star Game history. He played a significant role in the team’s success as he was giving it his all throughout the game and was in the running for the first Kobe Bryant MVP Award, which ended up going to current Clippers superstar, Kawhi Leonard.

At 34, Paul is embracing the toughest challenge of his NBA career, having been traded to the Thunder after getting the closest he’s ever been to the NBA Finals with the Houston Rockets. The veteran point guard has had to start from scratch, and he’s done it brilliantly as the leader of his new team. The Thunder head into the second half of the season as a playoff contender in sixth place in the Western Conference, which is ironically a game and a half back from the Rockets in the standings with a record of 33-22.