‘This is for you, grandpa’: When Suns’ Chris Paul dropped 61 points in a high school game after his grandfather’s death

Amulya Shekhar
|Published 10/12/2020

CP3’s 61-year-old grandfather was the victim of a violent crime. Chris Paul honored his memory by scoring 61 points in his next high school game.

On the night of Nov. 15, 2002, five young boys ran across a park. They jumped a 61-year-old man, bound his wrists, duct-taped his mouth, and beat him with pipes until his heart stopped – all for his wallet. That man was Nathaniel Jones, the grandfather of future NBA star Chris Paul.

Paul was very close to his grandfather. He worked at Jones’ service shop – the first such establishment opened in North Carolina by a black man.

Jones had only just learnt of Paul receiving an offer from D1 college Wake Forest a day before his death. He’d gifted his grandson a Demon Deacons hat for the same.

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Chris Paul’s legendary performance in memoriam of grandfather

On November 20, after performing his grandfather’s final rites, Paul took the court for his school – West Forsyth High School. The game turned into an exhibition game for CP3.

Paul scored 61 points in the game – one for every year his grandfather had spent in the world. He converted a layup for an and-1 when he had 59 points, airballed the free throw and subbed out of the game.

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The game received national attention, and Chris Paul’s draft prospects soared as a result. He’d earlier gained attention from scouts by leading his U-17 AAU team to a national trophy, but this performance took it up several notches.

Paul would go on to have a successful college career with Wake Forest before being drafted by the New Orleans Hornets with the #4 pick.

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