In the waning seconds of a close game, Lakers seven-footer Pau Gasol gently patted CP3 on the head after the two had exchanged words. Paul's ensuing freak-out led SportsCenter that night. Gasol made a tepid apology; six months later, Paul is still annoyed.
"We call that sonnin', " he explains to me. "Like when I take Li'l Chris to the bathroom, I'll walk with my hand on his head. That's my son. You know what I mean? I understand that Gasol is that tall, but don't do to me what I do to my son." Then CP3 says something I've never heard any man, let alone a basketball player, say before: "I've been fortunate to be short my entire life." I look puzzled, and he explains. "There's only one position I've ever had to play, and that's point guard. So I've always had to be that leader.
And that was my job: you know, to talk." CP3 is looking me straight in the eye. "I'm a big-time people person, too. Like, I love people. I hate to be by myself." He repeats the phrase to himself, quieter each time: "I hate to be by myself. I hate to be by myself. I hate to be by myself." Chris Paul - GQ October 2012 Cover Story: Profiles: GQ