MR. RIGHT: CHRIS PAUL
MR. RIGHT: CHRIS PAUL
By Teryl Warren
When the clock strikes midnight on December 25, Chris Cringle will begin his shimmying-down- the-chimney-thing. But hundreds of kids in LA got an up-close look at their very own Santa Chris earlier this week. And he wasn’t just handing out toys – he was handing out life lessons, too.
For the third year in a row, 9-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul teamed up with actor/comedian Kevin Hart and Chase for their annual Holiday Takeover Toy Giveaway. On Monday, December 19, 500 children from underserved communities in Los Angeles converged on 3 different Target stores around the city for the event.
The children represented numerous Los Angeles-based organizations including LA’s Best, The Brotherhood Crusade, the Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club and Leaps n Boundz. Each child attending the Holiday Takeover was given a $100 gift certificate for their holiday shopping courtesy of Paul and Hart.
While Kevin Hart was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, the power of technology through Chris’ cell phone and FaceTime allowed Kevin to connect with the kids before Chris Paul – sporting a red Santa hat and a winning smile – led the kids on their shopping sprees.
Like every great athlete, Paul understands the importance of the pre-challenge pep talk. He quickly addressed the kids before the shopping fun began.
“Does everyone know why we’re here?” he asked. Dozens of hands shot up in the air.
“For a shopping spree!” one child shouted from the crowd.
“Well, sorta,” Chris said.
“To give back!” a voice in from the back said. The magic words.
“That’s right,” Chris agreed. “We’re here to give back. The Holidays are about caring and giving, right? It’s nice to get things, but my family and I started our foundation because we wanted to help others. So for today, there’s only one rule: everybody gets to buy one thing for themselves, and you have to buy at least one thing for someone else.”
As one of the volunteers enthusiastically told us, “Chris Paul is the real deal. He and his family are just awesome!”
Practicing what he preaches all year-round, through the Chris Paul Family Foundation, Chris strives to positively impact individuals and families by leveling the playing field in education, sports and life. The foundation provides resources that enrich and strengthen the healthy development of strong communities.
“Chris comes from an amazing, tight-knit and giving family,” Chantez Pratts, Executive Director of the Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club, told us during the shopping spree. She also shared how Paul and his Family Foundation not only reached out to them for the Holiday Takeover, but they refurbished their entire building and equipped the building with a new state-of-the-art computer lab.
“This summer, Chris also donated a golf simulator to us, so we now have a golf program and are able to expose our kids to non-traditional sports,” Pratts said. “Most of our kids only know about things like football or basketball. He’s giving us avenues to expose our kids to different things and really expand their horizons.”
And with that, this Pied Piper – also known as the NBA’s best point guard – led his band of merry kids, their parents and guardians and more lookie-loos than could be counted, on a journey, not just to the toy section, but to a future where the spirit of giving back shines 365 days a year.
For more information about The Chris Paul Family Foundation, visit https://chrispaul3.com/foundation/.