Chris Paul mentally circled Nov. 21 on his calendar much like many basketball fans in Oklahoma did on the August day the NBA schedule was released.
The Hornets guard was just as eager to return to Oklahoma City as the city was to welcome him and his Hornets teammates back to the Ford Center for the first time tonight against the Thunder.
"This might have been the game that I looked forward to the most,” Paul said. "I’m too excited about coming back to Oklahoma to play. I’ve been trying to write in my mind when they introduce us for the starting lineup how the fans are going to react.
"For the guys on our team that had an opportunity to play in Oklahoma, it’s going to be a lot of emotions going on. My biggest thing is to come out of there with a win.”
While Paul wants to extend Oklahoma City’s nine-game losing streak, he will show his appreciation to the city and fans who supported him in his first two NBA seasons by auctioning the custom-made shoes he wears in tonight’s game. Paul will autograph the sneakers, and the proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma City.
"If I could put it on a billboard or something I’d probably put, ‘Thank you, OKC,’ ” Paul said. "Because even though we’re not there anymore I want them to realize that we’re extremely grateful. We’ll never forget.