In light of this, former NBA player Julius Hodge finally broke his silence regarding the infamous low blow he received from Paul during their days in the ACC together. Paul punched Hodge in the nether region during a rebounding battle, an action that earned the then-Wake Forest star a suspension and the reputation of a dirty player ever since.
Talking with ESPN Daily's Pablo Torre, Hodge vividly recalled the infamous Chris Paul incident that took place 15 years ago:
“It's my senior night, so the school has a huge celebration, a sellout crowd, a sea of red. My bobblehead, everyone in the stadium got my bobblehead, my mom is in the stands, my big brother, it's awesome,” said Julius Hodge, prefacing the worst to come with Chris Paul. “A shot went up and I'm just boxing him out. I never talked trash to him. When I tell you, I was a fan as a player — that's how much respect I got for him. So the shot went up and he got me, I was just like, ‘Bro, what are you doing?' (laughs). I was a little bit pissed at the moment, but the dude is such a competitor … and I know NC State fans are gonna kill me for saying this, but there was a part of me that I respected the ‘I would do anything it takes to win' side of it. I mean, you have to love that.”
For a decade, Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) refused to answer questions about the day Chris Paul punched him in the nuts. But then he agreed to join #ESPNDaily… (🎬 by @Ryan_Cortes) https://t.co/TVYn0wx8Va pic.twitter.com/buGFvtWTZQ
— Pablo Torre (@PabloTorre) September 2, 2020
The 26-4 Demon Deacons edged out the Wolfpack 55-53 in a close one, but neither Chris Paul (nine points, six assists) nor Julius Hodge (eight points, four assists, four rebounds) had a bright night.
Julius Hodge would eventually go on to be drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the first round after his last collegiate season, but lasted only two years in the league — playing a mere 23 games.
Chris Paul has carved a Hall of Fame career since being drafted in 2005, and he's now closing in on another postseason run, looking to get the best of his former team, once again doing “anything it takes to win.”