As basketball star Chris Paul prepares for another season with the Phoenix Suns, the 37-year-old is grateful to his wife Jada, whom he calls “the rock” of their family.
“For me, I’ve been traveling with games and stuff all my kids’ lives. You know what I mean? So my wife has definitely been the rock,” Chris told PEOPLE during the interview. Baby2Baby’s annual Back2School giveaway event with Jada. “She’s been the most consistent thing they’ve known in their lives, so she’s their go-to for anything and everything,” he adds.
On Thursday, the couple helped distribute backpacks, toys, diapers and food to children at Christopher Dena Elementary School in East Los Angeles.
“50,000 backpacks we provided today,” says Jada, who shares two children, Chris Jr., 13, and daughter Camryn, 9, with the NBA star.
Throughout his league career (17 seasons!), giving back has been a priority for Chris. “It was so special to be able to do this with my wife and partner with Baby2Baby who always do so much for all of these families,” Chris said.
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Chris also notes, “With inflation and formula shortages and everything going on, Baby2Baby has done an amazing job.” As well as handing out backpacks, Chris says the organization “made sure diapers and all the different essentials” were available to students. “Seeing and touching families is always special,” he says.
One reaction in particular remained with the star point guard even after Thursday’s event. “A dad who seemed like a single dad who was there with his daughter and it was just the two of them, seeing a smile on his face and seeing how he provides for and does what he needs to do for his daughter was pretty special,” says Chris, who has a non-negotiable point when it comes to spending time with his family during a demanding NBA season.
“Chris is really good at making sure he’s home for the kids’ first day of school,” Jada told PEOPLE.
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She continues, “He literally plans his schedule around the kids’ first day of school. So it’s still great, even though they’re in fifth and eighth grade now, it’s still important to be there for the first day of school.”
It’s also important for Chris to show his kids the classic movies he loved at their age. “I always try to make sure the kids see the movies we watched growing up. It’s hard to know if they’re the right age, so you go for it.”
Recent movie nights at the Paul House have included Coming to America and Bad girls.
Chris, who overwatched stranger things during the offseason, says he watched Lindsay Lohan’s 2004 comedy more than once. “I feel like we watched it 3 days in a row,” he laughs. “Listen, this movie is funny. It’s funny !
“He’s a big kid himself,” Jada says of her husband. “For example, during quarantine, he got up one morning and set up an obstacle course for the kids to do. So we had to run around the house, we had a jump rope. It was cool because he has crazy ideas and that’s the way to keep the kids engaged, to keep the family close.”