From Student to Star: Basketball court is named ‘Chris Paul Court’

Mallory Hearn, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Walking by the gymnasium it’s no surprise to hear the sound of students’ shoes squeaking on the gym floor. Nineteen years ago one of those students was Chris Paul, a guard for the Phoenix Suns who is about to enter his 18th NBA season. In honor of all his accomplishments, success and ongoing support for the Clemmons area, West dubbed the newly installed court “Chris Paul Court” Sept. 1.
“I’d come into this gym late at night, and I’d hoop. It was my happy place… I’m 37 and it’s still my happy place,” Paul said.
Not only did the ceremony dedicate the court to Paul, he also received the honor of being the first member in the West Forsyth Athletic Hall of Fame.
Principal Kevin Spainhour, who has a connection to basketball himself, came up with the idea of the Chris Paul Court and West Athletic Hall of Fame while shooting hoops one night at the gym.
“I came one night to shoot some basketballs.. I was looking for peace and clarity…I ended up sitting in the middle of the gym and it came across to me ‘I wonder how many hours Chris Paul has been on this floor’,” Spainhour said.
Spainhour went on to submit a request to the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Board of Education, which was approved roughly a year later.
During his time at West (1999-2003) Paul collected many accolades such as being named a McDonald’s All-American, first-team Parade All-American, and North Carolina’s Mr. Basketball.
Paul was just as much of a star in the classroom as he was on the court, even being class president his junior and senior years. According to his former principal Kurt Telford, Paul remained unpretentious despite his stardom at school.
“He was the most humble student even when his peers were begging him for autographs,” Telford said.
The ceremony was filled with former neighbors, teachers, administrators and coaches.
“Chris was an amazing student, always kind and sweet. He definitely has not forgotten where he came from and the people who’ve helped him get to where he is now,” said Judy Felder, Paul’s biology teacher.
Paul said when he was at West people wanted him to transfer to a basketball school but he didn’t want to leave his core group of friends and for that he’s very grateful.
“I’ve been so blessed and fortunate in my life to travel and so many things, to play on Olympic teams, and all of this different type of stuff, but you never forget where you came from,” Paul exclaimed.