Chris Paul: Point Guard, Activist, Union Boss

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— Chris Paul

You’re outspoken on social issues. Do you think athletes have a responsibility to speak out on issues they care about?

You have to do what makes you comfortable. People can tell when it’s not genuine or when it’s forced. But for me — being a father, having family and also understanding what I mean to other people that may not have a voice — it’s important.

I’m not sure if you’ve seen David Letterman sit down with President Obama, but Obama said something that was so true. If 20 years from now my son comes to me and says, “Daddy, you knew this was going on and you didn’t say anything about it,” then I’m just part of the problem. Even if we don’t get an opportunity to experience the real change in the culture, at least our kids will.

How do you think about investment decisions and sponsorship opportunities?

When you’re younger, you’re trying to get a name for yourself, and if such-and-such fast food company comes and says, “Here, we’ll pay you such-and-such to endorse it and say this and say that,” you’re like, “Hey, give it to me. Whatever it is, I’m going to do it.” But as I got older, I realized that I can only be in business with things that I believe in. And so that’s what happened with investing. And that’s why I invested in Wtrmln Wtr. This is something that I actually believe in and it coincides with my lifestyle.

A LinkedIn reader, Varun Paul, asks what you did to make sure you clicked with the Rockets as quickly as possible.

The best way that you build chemistry is time. So me, James, Trevor, a lot of us, we spent a lot of time together that summer playing pickup, going to eat, going out and having real conversations.

What else are you working on right now?

Me and my wife went to visit my son’s school in L.A., and we walked in and it was a nice classroom with laptops and iPads and smart-boards, and I got mad. I said, “I don’t like that kids on the other side of town don’t get this.” So that day, we started putting learning centers in underserved communities.

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