New Orleans point guard Chris Paul had this to say last night after learning he was starting for the Western Conference All-Star team:
“This is an unbelievable feeling for me as a player. What makes it even more special is that it is due to the fans, who I am extremely grateful towards. I am honored to be representing the Hornets and the city of New Orleans.”
Today, he expounded a bit:
“I think it’s big, and I’m unbelievably grateful for the fans for it, because I’ve probably got to be the only All-Star who hadn’t played yet on national TV.”
The lack of exposure didn’t hurt Paul in the fan vote, but he’s obviously not happy with the lack of national coverage given his team. The Hornets have been through some trying times this season already — from being sold to the league to having to make an attendance quota to keep their arena lease — only to emerge as one of the season’s true feel-good stories under Paul and rookie coach Monty Williams.
Paul will get his TV spotlight on the grandest stage in about three weeks, just without his Hornets teammates, when TNT televises the 60th All-Star Game from Los Angeles on Feb. 20.
As for Paul’s television blackout declaration, he’s right that the Hornets have yet to appear on TNT, ESPN or ABC. New Orleans, Minnesota, Detroit, Toronto and New Jersey are the only teams that haven’t been on those national networks. The Hornets have made several appearances on NBA TV.
As for the TNT-ESPN-ABC triumvirate, the Hornets are the only team with a winning record/or currently in playoff contention not to be on their airwaves. New Orleans happens to be 30-16 and riding a league-high nine-game winning streak.
Paul’s surprising squad is does have an ESPN date coming March 6 at Cleveland.