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Chris Paul: 'I Had $151 in My Bank Account When I Declared for the NBA'

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19.03.2019

Chris Paul is a basketball superstar. He's the face of national marketing campaigns and president of the NBA Players Union. But Paul will be the first to admit that it wasn't always this way. He needed to develop and grow to reach his current platform -- and he doesn't intend to stop learning anytime soon.

In this Q&A, the Houston Rockets point guard breaks down how his time as head of a union has impacted him, how he makes investment decisions and how his life has changed since he declared for the NBA draft.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

You're president of the NBA Players Union, as voted on by the players. What have you done so far in that role, and what are some of your goals for the future?

Being president of the Union has been a lot of work, but it's been unbelievably educational and informative. Gratifying and humbling. One of the biggest things that we did -- and when I talk, it's not me, it's our union as a whole -- is provide health health insurance for our players. We instituted a health program for all retired players with three or more years of service. It's awesome. When you come into this league at 19 -- some guys at 18 or 20 years old -- you have no idea about health insurance. Like, what is that? So every year now, we hold a clinic where retired players can go and have a blood test, heart exam, EKG and everything.

The day of my first game back [from a hamstring injury], I went over to the Houston arena, and there might have been 15 or 20 former former players there. They were saying how much this is helping those guys -- how it's actually saving their lives.

When did you implement the clinics and insurance?

We did it a few years ago. Our executive committee talked about it, and we were like, "Man, you know, this would be huge. We'd be the first league to have this." Our board presented it to the players, and it was a really good discussion. The one thing that we all will have in common won't be how many points we scored in our career or that we all won the same amount of championships. One thing is certain: We will all be retired players at some point in time.

Related: Dwyane Wade on Why He Doesn't Have Time for Rest

Exactly. Have you ever heard of Tiny Archibald? Through the screening last year in New York, he found out that he had a heart issue. He had to have surgery, and it saved his life. So if we didn't have this program, he would have lost his life. [Nate Archibald needed a heart transplant, which he eventually received.] Think about it: Guys are out there pushing their bodies to the limit -- especially 30 to 40 years ago or even longer than that. When you stopped playing, you didn't have this health care system in place -- even if you had bad knees or a bad back from playing all that time.

I played college basketball,........

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