CP Degree: Paul graduates college 19 years later

WINSTON-SALEM, NC — Chris Paul is now a college graduate.

The Phoenix Suns guard graduated from Winston-Salem State University Friday at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex. Paul earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications.

Paul originally attended Wake Forest, where he played basketball from 2003 to 2005 before entering the NBA draft as a sophomore. He returned to school across town in Winston-Salem State in 2020.

“I don’t want it to be about me,” Paul told Andscape after the ceremony. “I try to keep it as normal as possible. You know, all the students here have been fighting hard for a while for their degree. And I want to make sure that I’m not trying to show them at all on their special day. They have a lot of families, people- loved ones who are here to support them and see them. And I just want to be an undergraduate just like that.”

Paul had 15 points, 13 assists and 7 assists in 36 minutes in the Suns’ 111-95 road win over the LA Clippers on Thursday. At around 11:30 p.m. PT, Paul and some family members took a private jet from Van Nuys, California, to Winston-Salem which took about three hours and 40 minutes and arrived around 6:30 a.m. ET.

Two hours later, Paul headed to graduation in his hat and gown.

The 11-time NBA All-Star stood in the parking lot with all other graduate students in 38-degree weather for at least 30 minutes before the ceremony. Paul took part in the whole ceremony. An estimated 75 family members attended the graduation, and countless people took selfies with the point guard.

“When I’m about to walk across the stage, there’s a sense of nervousness, there’s excitement, there’s a sense of completion,” says Paul. “But knowing my family was there… I played a lot of high school games in that pavilion. And it was so stupid to look up and see my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my parents who had been there all the time. And then seeing my wife, my children, it feels normal.”

Winston-Salem State is a historically black university. At the start of the graduation ceremony, Paul gets a standing ovation when it is announced that he is funding Black’s Greenwood bank account for each graduate which will be worth $2,500.

Paul left North Carolina for Phoenix at around 2:50 p.m. ET. The Suns host the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.

“How do I prepare for tomorrow’s match? I will prepare with my family,” said Paul. “Being with my family is crazy. I can be with my wife and kids for the next 10 days, and it’s my happiest place. We’re going to take this flight back, maybe try to get home tonight, get my body working , hopefully lay down and watch a movie with them and just enjoy the time.”

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