Thursday, December 26, 2013

Conversation with CP3's mother

Here, Robin and Charles pose with a pair of CP3s during a launch in 2008.

Some people close to me know that I'm putting together a book with some of my favorite interviews from the last 10 years. I've done Q&As with famous athletes and sports personalities, but some of my favorite conversations took place while talking to non-athletes.

In May of 2008, I talked to one of my favorite NBA mothers, Robin Paul. Some of you know she's Chris Paul's mother. It was Mother's Day weekend, and CP3's birthday when we did this interview.

She’s also a big sports fan. I knew we could talk a little sports and have some fun. CP was a star for New Orleans Hornets at the time of this interview. Robin is a great person, with a huge heart. She's also very down to earth. It’s easy to feel like you've known her for years after a few conversations. I still hug her as if I'm a part of the family when I see her out.

Take a look at some of our conversation from a few years back.

Anthony: (Smiles.) What’s going on, Robin?
Robin: Not a whole lot. Just getting back from New Orleans.
Anthony: I hear that. And, CP and the guys are up 2-0 on the Spurs. You have to give me your thoughts on that.

Robin: Oh, that’s very impressive. We’re glad to be where we are right now.
Anthony: Let me ask you this.
Here, Charles and Robin Paul pose with CP during his Wake Forest days.
Robin: OK.
Anthony: How does it make you feel to see Chris highlights and commercials, or watch the reaction
of some of the fans when he does things during games?
Robin: I mean, we’re blessed. It makes us feel very proud. But you have to realize that we’re right there cheering with them. We’re cheering for the same player and team.
Anthony: When did you realize that Chris was pretty good?
Robin: You have to realize that I just see Chris as being Chris. We all know that he has a great talent. I just
look at it as being blessed overall. I can’t say that I realized Chris was good after he did this or that. My husband knew before I did. He has a great talent, though.

Anthony: Today (Tuesday) is CP’s birthday,
Robin: Today is his 23rd birthday. It sure is. As a matter of fact, he just called the cell phone. (Giggles.) Charles is talking to him now. We did a big dinner for him while we were out there. He’s real focused right
now. He’s on a mission.
Anthony: Sunday is Mother’s Day. And, I am sure you’re going to be in San Antonio (For the playoff game).
Robin: Yes, we’ll be in San Antonio. I’m used to it. I've been in a gym through a lot of Mother’s Days, dating back to AAU. We would be in a gym just about every Mother’s Day. We used to go out and buy roses to give to the other mothers. I see this as being no different. We’ll be in another gym this coming

Anthony: How are you able to deal with the crazy travel schedule?
Robin: That part can get hard sometimes. Like this morning, we had to get up at 3:30 to catch an early flight.
We’re back and forth (Between Winston-Salem, NC and New Orleans) so much.(Giggles.) But you have to get your rest and be ready to roll.
Anthony: Where’s the best place you visited within the last three years?
Robin: We don’t go to a lot of the away games. Mainly the home games.
Anthony: It doesn't have to be for basketball. Just name some of the places you've enjoyed.
Robin: Hmm. Let me think. I enjoyed Japan, when we went over with the Olympic team. That was another culture. I enjoyed that. Dallas, Salt Lake City and L.A (Now Chris is a standout for the L.A. Clippers).

Anthony: Have you met anyone that you've been in awe over? I know that you recently met Paula Dean.
Robin: Yeah, that was great. There were a lot of stars at the game last night. We met Danny Glover, Forest
Whitaker, Jackie Long (from “ATL.”) and Diana Ross’daughter (Tracee Ellis Ross).The one that’s on
“Girlfriends.” We met her the night before last.

Anthony: Oh, OK.
Robin: All of them are just real down to earth people. They do what they have to during the day, and chill and come to the game at night.
Anthony: Cool. What is your favorite thing to eat nowadays?
Robin: It’s probably gumbo. (Both laugh.)
Anthony: I know you make a killer dish of beans and weenies.
Robin: Beans, weenie and tuna. As a matter I cooked that on Friday when we were
in New Orleans. I sure did. Friday night. Tony Parker (Spurs point guard) came by the house and ate dinner with us. He enjoyed it.

Anthony: Do you have a good relationship with most of the players that Chris is friends with?
Robin: Yes, we do. We sure do.
Anthony: That’s one of the biggest differences between the new and old NBA. Guys really used to not like each other back in the day. Now, some of the best players are friends.
Robin: Oh yeah, they’re really close. This is their job. They have to get along with people they work with. It’s no different than us with our coworkers.
Anthony: What else is new Mrs. Paul?
Robin: Oh, nothing else is really new. We just need to go ahead and win this championship.

Anthony: No doubt. Uh, they announced that Kobe won the MVP a little earlier today. Is that disappointing to you?
Robin: (Laughs.) We were glad that Chris’ name was even mentioned. Here he is in his third season, for him
to be mentioned as MVP was a blessing. He’ll always be the MVP in our eyes anyway. He’ll get it one day.
Anthony: No doubt. Mrs.Paul, I need a pair of CP3’s.
Robin: (Laughs.) OK. I need a pair too. They’re all at the mall.
Anthony: (Laughs.) Oh, I can’t believe you’re going to do me like that. (Both laugh.) OK, let me get a CP3 T-shirt or something.
Robin: We can do a Tshirt.

Anthony: (Smiles.) That sounds good to me. Um, let’s finish with free association so you can enjoy the rest of your day.
Here, Robin, C.J. and CP3 pack goods for charity.
Robin: Oh, man.
Anthony: It’s gonna be easy.
Robin: OK.
Anthony: Charles Paul.
Robin: My husband and son. (Oldest son also named Charles, aka C.J.)
Anthony: (Smiles.) Winston-Salem.
Robin: Hometown.

Anthony: Robin Paul.
Robin: Charles’ wife. C.J.and Chris’ mom. Rhonda’s (Rhonda Richardson) sister.
Anthony: New Orleans.

Robin: Hornets.
Anthony: Charlotte Bobcats.
Robin: Raymond Felton. (Former Bobacats and UNC pg) and Michael Jordan.
Anthony: Favorite basketball player of all-time.
Robin: Michael Jordan.
Anthony: (Smiles.) All right. We’re done.

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