|Residence||Winston-Salem, North Carolina[|
Charles Paul is the father of Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul.
Paul was born in Anderson, S.C., but his family moved to Winston-Salem when he was 4. He went to several schools because of forced busing, and wound up graduating from East Forsyth, then went on to Winston-Salem State.
Charles Paul's version: "We went to the same church. Our parents were friends. Over the years, we were dating others, and we were just friends and church associates. And then one day, just all of a sudden. I guess she couldn't stand me and I couldn't stand her, and we just got together. But we were just friends for a long time." They started raising a family quickly. C.J. -- Charles Jr. -- was born in 1983, and Chris followed on May 6, 1985. Charles Paul was a sports fan all along. Even after his football career at East Forsyth ended, he continued to play various sports into his 20s, and 30s, and to a lesser degree even now -- at 47 he continues to bowl and play basketball. Ever the proud papa, he says that he continued to beat son C.J. in pickup and one-on-one games long after C.J. headed off to Hampton and then transferred to USC-Upstate. He won't say when it was that son Chris started beating him, but he smiles when he talks about the family's point-guard genes. "I get a lot of calls from buddies saying, ‘Why don't you ever talk about playing ball?'" Charles Paul said. "I say, ‘Because they're concerned about Chris; they ain't concerned about my little deal.' But, yeah, I played, and Chris reminds me a lot of me. All my friends tell me, ‘Every time I look at that boy, I think of you.' You know, Chris' skill level is a lot higher than mine, but as far as passing the ball and my intensity level, I always played hard. And I still do." Eventually, he got into coaching while working in security at Aijis Mechtronics, which provides surveillance equipment for businesses. By the time sons C.J. and Chris were old enough to start playing, he was coaching them. He was an assistant coach at West Forsyth in Chris' junior and senior years, when Chris blossomed into a McDonald's All-America. But he had been on the bench or coaching Chris' school, YMCA and AAU teams in some fashion since the fifth grade -- except for the one year that wife Robin coached Chris' YBA team. "Everybody else saw the promise in C.J. rather than Chris growing up," Charles Paul said. "Until Chris' 10th-grade year, and that's when Chris really started showing that he got that savvy in him. But I still talk to people who say, ‘Whoever would have thought?' Because they both played football and basketball, and a lot of people didn't even know Chris played basketball, unless you were at the Y. Everyone thought of Chris as this tough little football kid, who was knocking people around and just mean on the football field."