Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul graduates from HBCU Winston-Salem State: 'Man, it's cool'

Duane Rankin
Arizona Republic

Chris Paul left Thursday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers with 15 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds – and much more waiting for him in his hometown.  

The Phoenix Suns point guard flew out of Los Angeles to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with a connection in Dallas to receive his degree in mass communications at Winston-Salem State University.

“Man, it’s cool,” Paul said after the game. “I’m excited. Long time coming.”

The graduation ceremony was Friday morning.

“It sounds crazy, don’t it,” said Paul at a press conference on campus after the ceremony. “Man, it’s been an unbelievable experience for me, this being home for me born and raised."

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Paul started his college career at Wake Forest before leaving school early for the 2005 NBA Draft.

Drafted fourth overall, Paul has since become one of the all-time great point guards, won two Olympic gold medals and made the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team.

Now he can add college graduate to his list of accomplishments.

“It’s something I’ve been striving for,” Paul said. “My brother was the first person to graduate in my family. To be able to go back home and do that with my family. It snuck up kind of quick, I guess because of the games, but I’m probably most excited to spend the next 10 days with my wife and my kids.”

Paul has been taking online classes in pursuing his degree from the historically Black college.

“It’s a huge accomplishment when you consider being that great for such a long time (as an NBA player), being the president of the (National Basketball Players Association),” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “It’s a huge accomplishment for him, but I think him doing it at Winston-Salem State says a lot about his affection for Black colleges.”

Williams said Paul did quite a bit of his homework in his hotel room and was up as late at 3 a.m. completing his classes.

“That’s just Chris,” Williams added. “Chris doesn’t sleep.”

Paul will return to Phoenix (17-12) for Saturday's game against New Orleans (18-10), which beat the Suns twice last week at home.

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