There are about a million things to love about Lee Jenkins' new Sports Illustrated feature on Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, which details the unique, transformational leadership the 27-year-old triggerman brings not only to a team, but to an organization at large — through the combination of his individual talent, gift for elevating others' games, iron will and magnetic personality, Paul seems capable of changing a franchise's fortunes quickly, decisively and (largely) by himself.
My personal favorite, though? The way CP3's impact can be measured at your local shopping plaza.
He went to souvenir stores looking for Clippers gear and recoiled when vendors only offered Lakers T's. He was reminded of the day he committed to Wake Forest and could only find North Carolina hats in Winston-Salem. "That drove me nuts," he says. By the time he left Wake, the school had its own shop at Hanes Mall. [...]
When Paul returned to a popular sneaker boutique, he asked, "Why no Clippers hats?" The Flight Club employee replied, "Sold out." Paul exhaled. "There's a big difference," he said later, "between selling them out and not ordering them at all."
Just like there's a big difference between seven playoff appearances in 41 seasons and two straight trips, including an all-over-but-the-shoutin' grasp of the first division title in franchise history. But, y'know, you can't wear that.
You can wear sneakers, though ... and as our pals at the Yahoo! Sports Minute know, CP3's got a pretty insane collection of those. Check it out: