Chris Paul Talks NBA Lockout, Essence Festival Weekend

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By Rahman J. Dukes

For most NBA fans the offseason is a highly regarded period where teams and athletes evaluate the direction of their respective ball clubs in all aspects as they prepare for the upcoming year. With the 2011 offseason just getting underway this particular phase has the potential to be one of the longest.

This past Thursday the National Basketball Association subjected it’s fans to a not so entertaining game being played off court when they officially went into lockout, putting the clamps on all NBA activity. The lockout, which sees ball club owners at war with players in an attempt to reduce salaries, has been the talk of the league for the majority of this past season but the reality appeared to have hit harder at home.

New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul is one of the first NBA players to speak out on the lockout. The star player says that regardless the outcome of the situation that players would stick together.

“It’s unfortunate if that happens but us players, we’re united. You know, we stick together, that’s all we can do. We hope to get a fair deal in place sooner rather than later. I think at the end of the day it affects the fans more than anyone else cause those are the people that come in and support us night in and night out.”

Paul is one of many athletes that is a figure in his community who has consistently been about the people. Recently Chris Paul and his CP3 foundation in partnership with Coca-Cola held the CP3K Walk for Kids. The project involved over 300 youth designed to encourage a more healthy lifestyle amongst the youngsters. Young Money artist Lil Twist surprised fans when he made an appearance during the event.

“Supporting an active lifestyle is one of the highest priorities of our Company,” said Ingrid Saunders Jones, Senior Vice President of Global Community Connections, The Coca-Cola Company and Chairperson of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “We support youth development. This walk provides a structured environment for our youth to learn the importance of being active and making healthy choices.”