All-Star point guard Chris Paul stood in front of the students at Barack Obama Charter Elementary School, allowing them to ask him questions. The students, clad in burgundy and khaki uniforms, yelled, vying for his attention. They asked Paul about a myriad of topics, from the crossover to the “Blake Griffin Face.” One asked about times when people underestimated Paul’s athletic capability.
“When I was growing up, everybody told me I was going to be too small, too short, everything to ever play in the NBA and look at me now,” Paul said.
He did not just visit the elementary school, but left the students with a gift that will keep on giving. The Chris Paul Family Foundation joined forces with the non-profit organization Shoes That Fit to give all 358 students at the elementary school a free pair of Nike tennis shoes.
“There are people that care about [children] and want to give,” said Paul’s father, Charles. “It’s about how you give, too and we want them to receive them as a blessing.”
The foundation and the nonprofit has collaborated before to provide shoes to children in Paul’s native town Winston Salem, North Carolina.
“We try to do a lot of things with kids,” said Paul’s brother, C.J. “We look at all different kinds of kids’ organizations that we can partner with and this one definitely fit for us.”
Principal Chaleese Norman credited the elementary school’s front office manager for researching the Chris Paul Family Foundation and discovering the opportunity.
“She said ‘let me look and see who else can help our young people and just assure that they have the things that they need and they feel great about themselves’,” Norman said. “It’s awesome to know that we’re getting lots and lots and lots of support from our community members.”
Members of Paul’s family also came to help pass out the shoes to students. Shoes That Fit will be celebrating their 25th year of service in 2017.
“We’re about the kids,” said Amy Fass, the executive director of Shoes That Fit. “It’s really about their self-esteem and how they feel and knowing that somebody [is] investing in them.”