This is an article from the Feb. 20, 2012 issue
The Clippers point guard was named an All-Star starter and loves his new town despite not having had time to mingle with celebrities.
DAN PATRICK:How has the transition been to life as a Clipper?
CHRIS PAUL: Things couldn't have gone smoother. This has been such a great situation. We're like a college team.
CP: When you're in college, you spend so much time together. When you come to the NBA, it's different because after practice everyone goes their separate ways. Here, we're always doing things together.
DP:How hard was the week when the NBA ruled against the trade that would have sent you to the Lakers before you ended up going to the Clippers?
CP: Emotionally, it was a roller coaster. Now I'm so much more comfortable. The organization has been great since Day One. L.A. has been great.
DP:Do celebrities come up to you at the Grove and other restaurants?
CP: Not yet. That probably has something to do with this compact schedule. I don't even know what the Grove is.
DP:You have to get out more.
CP: I'm too busy working.
DP:Are you a Los Angeles guy yet?
CP: I'm getting there. The weather is beautiful. The people are amazing. Now I just want some time to get settled in. We're on a six-game road trip.
DP:How big an advantage is it that you're a younger team when it comes to the condensed schedule?
CP: We're not as young as you think we are.
DP:You're younger than the Lakers, and you've stayed healthier than a lot of teams.
CP: Yeah, it can help. But I think our training staff has been unbelievable. That goes unnoticed sometimes.
DP:Are you caught up in Lin-sanity?
CP: I don't want to say "caught up." I definitely respect what he's done. I don't care what people say about his [opposition so far]. Anytime you do what he's done in that amount of games, you're doing a great job.
DP:But at what point do you know a player is for real?
CP: As a point guard, it's all about controlling your team and making sure your team comes with the right energy. When you see his teammates, like Tyson Chandler, cheering for him, that's what it's all about.
DP:When's the last time you dunked?
CP: In warmups in Orlando [on Feb. 6]. You can ask Blake Griffin.
DP:Do you make sure you don't dunk after Griffin in warmups?
CP: Exactly. And I don't dunk with my forearms, because I don't want to show [Griffin] up. [He] and DeAndre Jordan told me I have to give them two dunks this season.
DP:You and your family were on Family Feud.
CP: Yeah, you heard my dad's answer, didn't you?
DP:What did your father say on the show?
CP: The question was: "If you were on a date with a woman, what wouldn't you want her to know that you have on?" Instead of saying "toupee," my dad yells out, "Thong." Me and my brother looked at each other and said, "Did our dad just say that?" Sure enough, [that answer] was up there.
The Clippers' Blake Griffin is still undecided about participating in the slam-dunk contest, but he told me fatigue is a major concern: "Last All-Star weekend was a long, long, long weekend for me." ... Elton Brand credited team workouts in Los Angeles during the lockout for the 76ers' early success. "A lot of teams talked about getting together, but they didn't," Brand said. "We did." ... Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo gets his team to buy into defense by pointing to championship teams in football, baseball and hockey. "Ninety percent of the time, the team that defends the best [wins]," Izzo said. "I like the Patriots, but the Giants had the defense." ... TNT's Charles Barkley thinks Jeremy Lin's ascension underscores how bad New York's blockbuster trade was last season. "They gave up too much to get Carmelo [Anthony]," Barkley told me. "If the Knicks ... had those players they traded [to the Nuggets], now that team would be scary."