Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) tries to steal the ball from New Orleans' Chris Paul (3) during the NBA basketball game between Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Hornet, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 at the Oklahoma City Arena. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
He was cheered loudest. He was lauded longest. And when the Hornets went home to New Orleans, he was missed most.
Now, Paul has become a guy that Thunder fans love to hate.
Granted, Paul has kicked up his on-court antics over the past few seasons. But don’t kid yourself, Oklahoma City. Paul was doing much of the same stuff when he was here, and you loved it then.
You thought he was just doing everything in his power to win.
Guess what? That’s what he’s still doing.
He just happens to doing it wearing another city’s name on his jersey.
Then, he was a fan favorite.
Now, he’s a royal pain. He’s a bad guy. He’s a black-cape-wearing, mustache-twisting, evil-cackling villain.
Right before halftime Wednesday night, Paul drew a foul on Russell Westbrook. The point guards were going after a loose ball, and when they collided, Paul reacted like he’d been hit with a windmill punch.
A fan behind the scorer’s table yelled, “And the Oscar goes to ... ”
Another answered, “Paul!”
It was vintage CP3. It gave him an advantage, stole a couple points and miffed everyone in Thunder blue.
He knows how to get under opponents’ skin.
“He’s good,” Williams said. “That’s enough.”
Enough to drive people crazy.
Enough to brand him a punk.
But Oklahoma City, you know the truth. Paul might be a pest and a pain, but he is no punk.