2015-16 All-Star Running Blog
TORONTO – Chris Paul and J.J. Redick had no time to waste as their overtime matchup concluded Wednesday night in Boston.
Immediately following the final game prior to the break, the two Clippers booked it straight for Toronto, where Paul will be participating in the All-Star Game and Redick will participate in the Three-Point Contest.
It marked the ninth straight All-Star selection for Paul and the second straight Three-Point selection for Redick, who’s already practicing for the event and taking it more seriously this time around.
The Clippers didn’t arrive in Toronto until around 2 a.m. late Wednesday night and didn’t get to their hotels until around 3 a.m., but they needed to get there that night to be ready for their morning media circuits.
Up bright and early Thursday morning, here’s what Paul and Redick go through during All-Star Weekend.
11 a.m. (ET) – Paul’s media circuit at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel begins first, starting with an interview with NBATV’s David Aldridge, who asks Paul about everything from his style, to owning the highest assist average in All-Star history, to the impending retirement of Kobe Bryant, something Paul gets asked about multiple times as the day goes on. Paul talked about how much Bryant meant to the city of Los Angeles and how many of the All-Stars grew up watching him, then talked about how fun it is to play in the All-Star Game with some of the most athletic players in the league running around him.
11:09 a.m. – From one interview to another, Paul then heads over to the next station at SiriusXM. He’s asked about what being an All-Star for the ninth time means, and how the weekend changes from year to year for him. “Now, it’s like a machine,” Paul said. “I bring my whole crew. My kids are going to be here, too.”
11:16 a.m. – Paul’s handed a giant cutout of a key and asked what his key is to a successful Valentine’s Day. “The element of surprise,” Paul responded, before answering a couple more questions. When asked why he believes he’s an All-Star, he credits his team and teammates.
11:20 a.m. – It’s social media time. At the first station, he’s asked to toss a pass behind his back. He then moves to the Facebook Live booth, where fans ask him questions. He said he’s most looking forward to the 3-point contest because his teammate, Redick, is in it. His favorite All-Star dunk of all time? “The 360 windmill from Vince Carter,” Paul responded.
11:24 a.m. – CNN catches up with Paul for a quick interview between stations.
11:26 a.m. – Now, in the same room, it’s time for the photo shoot to begin. First, he poses on a chair without a basketball, then with a basketball. He’s sitting, standing, and doing a variety of poses.
11:40 a.m. -12:15 p.m. – The stations continue during Paul’s media circuit, as he stops by with NBA on ESPN, Sportsnet and NBA World for a variety of interviews.
“It’s my 11th All-Star weekend and ninth time as an All-Star,” Paul said. “It means a lot. It’s something you don’t take for granted. There are guys who play in the league a long time, a number of years, and never have this opportunity. You just try to take it all in.”
The style of questions run the gamut. At one station, he’s quizzed on random Canadian facts and gets a few right. Other stations provide more traditional question, and he’s asked more about Bryant’s retirement, with Paul reiterating how much he respects how Bryant approaches the game and competes. He gets behind green screens and white screens, goes through various reads and tags, and his morning’s nearly through.
12:20 p.m.-1 p.m. – Paul's final task is to autograph his basketball cards for Panini America, and there’s plenty to sign. Paul fields some questions while signing, reminisces about some of his old All-Star appearances, all while Redick starts to make his way to the media circuit.
1:10 p.m. – Redick arrives at the Sheraton, and he’s immediately presented with the cutout of a key. Here, he’s asked what the key will be to winning the 3-point contest. “To not shoot long twos,” Redick joked, following his appearance last year when he stepped on the 3-point line multiple times.
Redick fields some Bryant questions, though not as many as Paul. The majority of people walking up to Redick are more interested in his new podcast for The Vertical. "I'm a player and a media member now,” Redick joked between stations.
1:15 p.m. – Redick goes down a hallway and into the first room, where he’s quizzed on Canada. Redick aces all but one question. He’s asked what the Canadian capital is and what people on pieces of cardboard in front of him are or aren’t Canadian, among a range of questions. Redick has some fun with that station before continuing on.
1:27 p.m. – He stops with NBA Cares and the camera’s placed on him for some reads. “Thank you to all Clippers fans for hanging with us through the ups and downs, the drama, the controversies,” Redick says to the camera. “We have a great group of guys, and our hope is to bring you an NBA championship."
1:35 p.m. – Then come some NBA World questions. He talks about how Ray Allen taught him how his rituals should stay the same, how he moved on from self-doubt after his second year in the league, and how grateful he was for Stan Van Gundy early in his career.
1:42 p.m. – Redick sets up with NBATV’s Lang Whitaker and Sekou Smith for an interview. He’s also asked about the podcast and jokes that he’s not trying to put anybody out of business.
1:47 p.m. – Off to talk to David Aldridge for NBATV. He talks about how he’s practicing more for this year’s 3-point competition and the difficulties in shooting off a rack.
1:53 p.m. – The social media part to Redick’s day starts. He puts up the 3-point sign for a Boomerang, then goes to the Facebook Live booth, which is essentially a giant soundproof box where Redick talks about his favorite superhero (Batman) and actor (Tom Hardy), among a series of questions.
2:00 p.m. – Who doesn’t like a good photoshoot? It doesn’t take too long, as just like Paul, Redick goes from sitting to standing, from with a basketball to without a basketball, taking a variety of shots in different poses.
2:05 p.m. – Redick’s media circuit ends with a SiriusXM interview with Eddie Johnson and Justin Termine prior to Fox Sports interview. Once again, everyone wants to ask Redick about his podcast. They also ask about his new arm sleeve tattoo, and explains how part of the reason he used his left arm was to put something over the “gibberish” that was already there. He talks about the joys of playing with Chris Paul and how they read off each other, and he explains how the team still has Blake Griffin’s back and would love to get him back soon. Redick makes it clear he’s at the 3-point contest this year to win it. “Last year, it was New York fashion week, and I was soaking in the experience,” said Redick, who despite getting in late night Wednesday was up early Thursday morning getting up shots prior to his circuit.
11:00 – 11:30 a.m. – The All-Star Saturday night participants come out first, and for about 25 minutes, Redick sits at the podium and answers questions, mostly about the 3-point contest. He’s practicing often in the days leading up to the competition, even analyzing shot charts in advance of the competition. Redick’s interested to see how Devin Booker performs and said Booker’s his dark horse to win it after shooting well the last couple months.
But, with that much media in attendance, the questions cover a wide variety of topics. He’s asked about everything from the upcoming 3-point contest, to the race in the West, to Kobe Bryant, to Stephen Curry, to his relationship with recent podcast guest Steve Nash, to Doc Rivers, to his career year and more. Redick made sure to have some fun with it, particularly when asked about the advice he’d give to Kawhi Leonard at All-Star Weekend. “We play them on Thursday, so I’d tell him to go to every party,” Redick said with a smile. “Hit the streets, not really pay any attention to basketball and stay out of the gym.”
11:30 a.m. – The Western Conference All-Stars begin to arrive. The horde of media around Kobe Bryant’s stage allows for a little breathing room at the rest of the stations. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis have started their sessions nearby as Chris Paul walks up to his stage.
11:35 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Paul starts his conference talking about how the Clippers are just holding down the fort until Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers return. He talks about how the team has stepped up by committee and upped its defensive effort. Paul said trust is the most important aspect of team defense. He’s asked about how he’s played so well individually on defense throughout his career, what it’s like being the seasoned veteran All-Star point guard now, how he’ll be rooting on Redick at the 3-point contest, what life was like early in his career playing in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and having to play in Oklahoma during some of that time.
“My rookie year in Oklahoma, man, I always try to figure out how I made it through,” Paul said. “I used to get a McGriddle every morning from McDonalds before practice. Me and my brother would eat Chick-fil-A after practice and we’d order pizza and stay up all night, and we lived in a little two-bedroom house out in Edmund. Somehow, I became Rookie of the Year. I couldn’t function like that now, but all those different experiences I think mold and make you who you are now.”
12:10 p.m. – Paul finishes up his general All-Star media session, but he’s not done answering questions. Paul heads up on the big stage for an ESPN interview with Sage Steele. Paul gets a little time to rest afterward before an NBPA meeting and Jordan Brand obligations.
12:15 p.m. – 1 p.m. – Around this time, Redick’s now had the chance to get back on the road. He’s giving back in Toronto, as Redick goes through his NBA Cares Day of Service at the Enercare Center.
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Redick’s not messing around when he says he’s preparing and taking the three-point contest seriously this year. When his community work is through, Redick’s back in the gym getting shots up. Redick says he’ll also get in the gym to shoot Saturday morning before the game, maintaining a similar routine to what he’d do if he was playing in an actual game Saturday night.
11:05 am- 12:05 p.m. – The Eastern Conference All-Stars head to Ricoh Coliseum for their practice, where much of the time is spent doing on-court interviews and taking half court shots. After all, All-Star Weekend is just as much about entertainment as it is about basketball. The East is running a little behind as the players head to interviews, where each player is put on a separate stage in a zone attached to the court.
Dwyane Wade compliments Chris Paul’s game, saying the point guard “has no weaknesses.” Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue is also in attendance and talks about how influential Doc Rivers has been to his career, describing Rivers as someone who’s “pretty much been a father figure.”
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.– As the East’s media availability wraps up, the West All-Stars head out to the court to repeat the process, working on the court and then heading back for interviews. Paul’s son has joined him at All-Star Weekend, and little Chris joins Paul throughout the rest of his activities that day.
Paul, who has a Jordan Brand appearance later in the day, talks about how big the weekend is for people who like sneakers. This time, his media appearance goes shorter than previous days. Reporters have already had a couple days to ask their questions. Paul’s asked about his mentality heading into All-Star Games and the cold in Toronto. On Saturday, the temperature fell into the negatives, with one reporter telling Paul it’s the coldest weekend in Toronto in years. Paul says he loves Toronto, and he thinks it would be one of the top three choices among NBA players when it comes to their favorite NBA cities to visit, but he’s in favor of All-Star Weekend in warm locations.
“But All-Star’s been great here,” Paul said. “Obviously, the game’s not until Sunday, the culmination of a great weekend. The fans in Toronto have always been amazing.”
1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. – No time to waste. As Paul wraps up his media availability, he heads with his brother, C.J., and his son to a Jordan Brand appearance. As Paul goes through the store, little Chris spends some time testing out the games available.
All-Star Weekend brings together many of the top Nike athletes in one place, and the Jordan athletes in attendance head to the pop-up store in Toronto, which opened Friday morning and runs 24 hours through the weekend, with new shoes dropping every day. Following his time there, Paul then heads off for another sneaker event, while Redick spends the morning getting ready for his main event, with the Three-Point Contest happening Saturday night.
7:45 p.m. – 9 p.m. – Redick gets to the Air Canada Centre to prepare for the Three-Point Contest, where he scores 20 points in the first round. That’s good enough to get him in a tiebreaker with James Harden and Devin Booker, where he outscores Harden but gets outscored by Booker, who moves on with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. Thompson went on to win the contest.
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. – Chris Paul arrives at the Air Canada Centre with his son by his side. For the players, much of the pregame is spent taking photos, catching up and soaking in the experience. Paul said he talked to Kobe Bryant, who was playing in his 15th and final All-Star Game, about how when a player gets older, he starts to appreciate the memories more often. Paul’s son made a memory later in the night, stealing the ball from Bryant in warmups at halftime. It’s memories such as that which Paul said his son will appreciate more later in life. After the players get dressed and ready to go, they get their pregame introductions, where Paul’s recognized as the 2013 MVP.
8 p.m. – 11 p.m. – Paul comes off the bench and racks up a game-high and All-Star Game personal-high 16 assists in just 19 minutes. He was also on fire from deep, going 4-for-6 from long range and finishing with 14 points. Paul passed Isiah Thomas in the process for second all-time in career All-Star Game assists, and he added to his already All-Star all-time leading assists per game number (13.3).
11:15 p.m. – 11:40 p.m. – Players begin to file out for their final postgame interviews on a long weekend. Once again, Paul has his kids by his side. He said it was a great weekend and it was nice getting to chat and spend time with players off the court. But he’s ready to get home. The Clippers, after all, play on Thursday.