Having earned the moniker “The Point God,” Chris Paul indeed is one heck of a player. Every team he plays for, Paul takes the leader role, and he did so again with the Phoenix Suns, his fifth team in his 16-year tenure in the league. But that doesn't mean his leadership skills are universally praised.
Little man, big ego?
Indeed, every leader is different. Some are like Michael Jordan, who already has a commanding presence without talking, while some are vocal and a bit imposing. According to former Los Angeles Clippers forward Kenyon Martin, Chris Paul is a member of the second group.
Weighing in on the rumored verbal altercation between former Houston Rockets co-stars Paul and James Harden in the wake of their playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors in 2018, K-Mart shared his first-hand experience with CP3.
Martin suggested that whatever the issue was, there’s a great chance that it was about a clash of attitudes as Paul always wanted to be “the biggest voice in the room,” something that often struck most of his teammates as an overboard.
“People have heard these things before about Chris Paul, not only from me but other teammates,” Martin, who played with Paul in LA, told The Herd with Colin Cowherd in 2018. “Where there’s smoke, I’m a firm believer there’s fire… He always wants to be the biggest voice in the room when it comes to basketball and I think that rubs guys the wrong way.”
The rumored beef between Paul and Harden in 2018 became one of the most talked-about topics in the NBA. It reached a crescendo in 2019, in which the Rockets wound up with a decision to ship Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that saw them landing Russell Westbrook.
As expected, the media quizzed the pair for comments. At one point, both perennial All-Stars addressed the issue, but apparently, one of them was not telling the truth.
“Obviously, as competitors on the court, you can have disagreements on the court but that is just a part of basketball… All the negative media stuff that was going, wasn’t true. I and Chris had constant communication and we were good,” Harden said on the matter.
Paul, on the other hand, had a different statement. By contrast, CP3 said he and Harden have not been on speaking terms since the trade actualized.
“We don’t talk or communicate, but it’s all good & well,” Paul said of Harden. “I wish him the best. Sometimes you have teammates for a period of time & that’s ok.”
We may never know what the actual status between Paul and Harden was at the time. Whether Martin’s revelation about CP3 is true or not, who knows. Based on how he plays, the only thing we’re sure about is that Paul doesn’t let off-court drama affect his game.