Chris Paul has been a mainstay in the conversation of the NBA’s best players since he entered the league, but after 11 years of pro basketball, and three summers playing for the USA basketball team in international play, Paul has decides to withdraw from consideration for the USA’s Olympic Men’s Basketball team.
Paul, who was a member of the 2008 and 2012 gold medal winning basketball teams, cited wanting to spend more time with family as his reason for withdrawal. Paul now leaves a spot in the 12 man team up for grabs.
After more than a decade of contribution to USA Basketball, Paul told SI.com on Monday that he is withdrawing from consideration for this summer’s Olympic team, likely ending his international career. “I feel my body telling me that I could use the time,” he said. Few NBA players have expended more this season than Paul. Although his traditional stats do not vary much from his career norms—19.9 points and 9.8 assists in 33.2 minutes—he has piggybacked the Clippers in Blake Griffin’s absence.
Paul, who will be turning 31 in May, understands he may not have long in the league as a premier point guard. Recovery, time with family and proper training for his body is essential as he’s now leaving his prime. The Olympics is truly a young man’s game and Paul needs all the recovery time he can possibly garner.
Paul, the best point guard of his generation, has a hard time recalling a summer when he was not either injured, recovering from injury, or playing for Team USA. The Olympics are synonymous with other touchstones in his life. His wife, Jada, became pregnant with their son, Chris Jr., right after the ’08 Olympics and gave birth to their daughter, Camryn, right after the ’12 Games. “Just a few days ago, Little Chris asked me, ‘Daddy, will you play in the Olympics again?’” Paul said. “Part of me wanted to say yes, because he’s never been part of it. But I told him, ‘I want to spend more time with you.’” Paul, a fixture at his son’s Little League complex and basketball gym even during the NBA season, opted to stay home