Nine-time NBA All-Star and LA Clipper Chris Paul is a game changer. As long as he’s on the court, teammates can expect something positive to happen. In this early NBA season, he’s again leading the team in assists. What’s even more impressive are the contributions Paul makes off the court in the Los Angeles community.
Recently, The Chris Paul Family Foundation partnered with Claremont-based Shoes That Fit to donate more than 450 pair of Nikes to students enrolled at Barack Obama Charter School in Watts.
In its seventh year, the facility is an Ingenium Learning School (ILS) that encourages students to become more independent, learn at their own pace and take a leadership role in their education. Principal Chaleese Norman credited her office assistant with doing the research and connecting with Paul’s foundation.
Amy Fass, executive director of Shoes That Fit, said the two organizations wanted to find a school with the most need, one that included kids on free or reduced lunches, and they found the perfect match where every child seemed very appreciative of the new footwear.
In keeping with the organizational mission, the Chris Paul Family Foundation recognized the students for participating in their educational development and for being good citizens.
The Clippers’ team leader told students to always be grateful, thankful and respectful to the people around them. He also motivated them to expect great things from themselves even when others may not.
“When I was growing up, everybody told me I was going to be too small, too short, everything to ever play in the NBA and look at me now,” Paul said.
Named ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian of the Year for using the power of sports to make a positive impact on society, the North Carolina native has availed himself to the Los Angeles community since his arrival from the Hornets in 2011.
Through the Chris Paul Family Foundation, Paul and his family have dedicated themselves to providing under-privileged children the opportunity to succeed. The foundation also sponsors and supports literacy initiatives, youth basketball clinics, court refurbishment and adaptive athletic programs for special needs children.
“It hit me that it’s not fair,” Paul said while opening a newly refurbished Boys & Girls Club in Watts. “It’s not fair that a kid on this side of town doesn’t have the same opportunities as a kid on the other side of town.”
Whether it’s adding new technology to the Brotherhood Crusade after-school program, refurbishing the Watts Boys & Girls Clubs, or surprising elementary school children with new sneakers, Chris Paul and the Chris Paul Family Foundation continue to find new ways to make a lasting impact in the community.