Chris Paul Announces Transition From Pro Basketball To Pro Bowling
Following Steps Of Michael Jordan, Chris Paul Leaves Near Top Of His Game To Pursue Passion On His Professional Bowling Team L.A. Riot!
By TRAVIS MOORE
Published January 9, 2015
LOS ANGELES – It has been over 20 years since Michael Jordan shocked the basketball world by retiring so he could play professional baseball. Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul’s announcement Friday that he will retire from basketball to focus on his own second sport – bowling – has Clippers fans in a tailspin. Perhaps unlike Jordan, Paul has a good chance at becoming a successful bowling pro.
At a press conference held outside the Clippers practice facility in El Segundo, Paul announced that this NBA season would be his last. “Since I was in high school, I always wanted to bowl a perfect game in a PBA [Professional Bowlers Association] competition,” Paul said. “If you bowl a 300 [a perfect bowling score], you get a ring.”
Although Paul did not mention former Clippers owner Donald Sterling by name, he did hint that the racial controversy last year might have played a role. “The ups and downs in basketball have been difficult for me personally, and I believe I have accomplished as much as I can as a basketball player,” he said, echoing Jordan’s comments in 1993 when he left the NBA.
Some NBA insiders believe that Paul has doubts about the Clippers ability to reach the NBA finals in the talent-laden Western Conference. “Paul must see that the Clippers have some big empty spots, particularly when you look at younger teams like Portland and Golden State,” said syndicated sports columnist Bernie Bitrokowsky. “He is on the down slope in terms of his individual talent, so he sees that the time is right to follow his passion.”
The new team ownership responded with surprise but resignation. Paul Allen tweeted, “@ChrisPaul, we got to follow our passions. Will miss U.”
Paul’s search for a pro bowling team should be easy. In 2013, he purchased the L.A. Riot – a professional bowling team in the Professional Bowlers Association. Other celebrity team owners are Jerome Bettis and Terrell Owens. Each PBA team has five bowlers.
Although Paul’s average score is below PBA standards, bowling experts believe that he has the raw materials to be a pro. “When I see Paul dry his hands over the air-blower and pick up a ball, I see a guy that understands ten pin,” said bowling broadcaster and Bowling Hall of Fame curator Martin M. Hall. “Also, take a look at his forearms, because those are forearms that any pro would kill for.”
The signs that Paul might make the jump to bowling have been evident for years. In 2013, Paul missed the team flight to a regular season game so that he could attend a bowling match. He told the media, “basketball is how I make a living, but it is not the only sport in the world.” Paul’s father – who passed away when Paul was in high school – was an avid bowler and had aspirations for his son to bowl professionally. “I would watch PBA matches with my pop, and he would say, ‘son, one day that will be you out there,’” Paul said soon after purchasing the Riot.
Paul’s most prized possessions are his bowling balls. He has a set of balls emblazoned with images of U.S. presidents starting with FDR through President Obama. “I like to use the one with George Bush junior the most,” he said. “I feel that it increases my velocity knowing I’m going to smash him into the pins.”