DEZ BRYANT, A LONGTIME ADMIRER OF CP3

Chris Paul and Dez Bryant at Cowboys Training Camp

Perhaps nobody at Dallas Cowboys training camp was more excited about seeing Clippers superstar Chris Paul than wide receiver Dez Bryant.

The two have known each other for a short time thanks to a connection as Jordan Brand athletes and Paul’s affection for the Cowboys.

“It feels good to be in the same brand as him, Jordan Brand,” Bryant said. “I’m really excited he came out. It really means a lot.”

As Paul stood on the sideline, wearing a Cowboys T-shirt and backwards cap, the fourth-year wideout hurried over to show how much it meant. Bryant proclaims to be an avid basketball fan and more so, one of Paul. He said he’s followed the newly re-signed Clippers’ floor general for several years.

“It means a lot for the best point guard in the NBA to be a fan of me,” Bryant said. “I’m also a huge fan of him.”

Paul, 28, did not know Bryant, four years his junior, when the All-American starred at Oklahoma State. But he remembered watching him. In 2007, when Bryant started his record-setting freshman season, Paul was still living in Oklahoma City after his Hornets temporarily relocated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And he went from casual observer to “serious” fan after Bryant was selected No. 24 in the 2010 NFL Draft by Paul’s longtime favorite team.

The admiration from afar, according to both Paul and Bryant, is what makes meeting in person so much more exciting. 

“Most athletes are like, ‘Man, I wish I was playing football’ or ‘Man, I wish I was on the court,’” Bryant said. “That’s the cool thing about sports.”

Paul said his dream as a youngster was to play professional football. “I miss it. I still think I could play,” he added wryly. “I’d run a hitch and go straight out of bounds.”

As for Bryant on the basketball court? “I was okay, but nowhere near as good as him,” he said glancing at Paul. “Football was my sport and that’s what I took and ran with.”