A lack of communication can ruin just about any relationship. It doesn’t matter if it happens with a spouse, a friend, a neighbor, a boss, or an NBA teammate. If you aren’t honest with someone and you don’t speak with them about important issues when they come up, you’re probably going to see a sharp decline in the way you feel about them.
It sounds like Chris Paul is all too familiar with this. Sports Illustrated reporter Lee Jenkins just published a lengthy feature story on CP3 that details his rise from NBA rookie with the Hornets to one of the best point guards in NBA history with the Rockets, and of course, it also touches on the time he spent with the Clippers between 2011 and 2017. As a member of the Lob City team in Los Angeles, CP3 was always in the mix as far as the playoffs were concerned, and from what everyone could tell, he was happy playing alongside Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and his others Clipper teammates.
But Jenkins’ story paints a much different picture. While CP3 doesn’t come right out at any point and say that he was unhappy with his teammates in Los Angeles, Jenkins writes about how close CP3 was with his Hornets teammates at the start of his career. From team outings to the club to team movie nights at home, CP3 spent countless hours hanging out with his teammates when he played in New Orleans. It’s why he still considers many of them his "VCR friends." He can pause communication with them for extended periods of time and then pick right back up with them without skipping a beat.
It doesn’t seem like things were that way with CP3 and his Clippers teammates, though. He does shoulder some of the blame for it—"Some of it could have had to do with me," he admitted to Jenkins—but for whatever reason, CP3 and his Clippers teammates weren’t always on the same page. And to illustrate the issue, CP3 provided Jenkins with an analogy we can all relate to: Ignoring text messages from certain people simply because we don’t really want to interact with them. Without specifically addressing the communication issues CP3 had with some Clippers teammates, he used the analogy to show how those issues ultimately played a part in him distancing himself from certain guys on the team.
"You know how we all get these messages and we don't respond, and then we see the people who sent them and say, 'Oh, sorry, I didn't get your message,'" Paul said. "No. You got it. You got the message. You chose not to respond. I got so tired of avoiding stuff. That's what we're doing. We're avoiding. And I can't do it anymore. I can't have the pink elephant in the room. If somebody is asking for tickets, and I don't have them, I've got to say it. It's the same with relationships. If we have issues, let's get them out there. Let's talk about them. We might disagree. But we won't be doing all this stuff."
Paul told Jenkins he has worked hard to not let those same communication issues creep up again in Houston. Similar issues actually plagued his new teammate James Harden and Dwight Howard during their time together with the Rockets. So CP3 said he’s gone out of his way to make sure he and Harden clear the air regularly and don’t let communication become an issue in their working relationship.
"I’ve talked to James about all this," CP3 said. "We can’t do it."
He added: "I'm not telling you every night in Houston we're sitting around a campfire. I’m just telling you the biggest thing I've learned in this league is the importance of communication."
Elsewhere in the interview, CP3 speaks on the recent near-altercation involving the Rockets and Clippers at the Staples Center. He also touches on the role fatherhood plays in his life and talks about how "abnormal" life can be for NBA players. Go here to read Jenkins’ entire piece.