When the 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend takes place at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, it will be a nostalgic experience for Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul. In 2008, Paul was in his third season with the then-New Orleans Hornets before the franchise officially changed their name to the Pelicans in 2013.
2008 was also the same year Paul joined an elite group of players to represent the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. The festivities that year also took place in New Orleans and though Paul returns representing a different team, it’s always exciting for him to come back to the city he played six seasons for, including his rookie campaign.
“Man, I'm excited,” Paul told USA Today Sports. “I don't know how much you guys remember that game, but it was my first All-Star Game. It felt like I was close to being MVP. I feel like if we had won, I felt like I had a good shot.”
The Eastern Conference edged the Western Conference 134-128 with LeBron James earning the MVP honors. Nonetheless, Paul made the most of his first All-Star debut, finishing the game with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting, 14 assists and four steals.
Paul’s status for this year’s All-Star Game was in question after he separated his shoulder on Jan. 3 in Dallas. However, he returned to action on Sunday night in a dominating 123-78 Clippers victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, finishing with seven points and eight assists.