Monday, February 20, 2006

Hoops - Jarrett Jack / Chris Paul Mention

Article on Chris Paul with this mention about Jarrett Jack, as the two hung out recently:

(photo: Nate Billings for ESPN)

Perhaps that was never more evident than Tuesday night, when Paul chilled with Portland rookie and former ACC counterpart Jarrett Jack. The two NBA infants swapped stories about the first four months of their professional lives, discussing everything from the right way to address a referee ("Don't ever call him Mr. Ref," Jack explained) to Kobe's brilliance ("I remember when he had 19 in the first quarter on us and I was like, 'Speedy, we gotta do something. He's on pace for 76,'" Paul said.). In between, they ogled a pair of pink, purple and green pastel Nike Air Force Ones in Paul's living room while watching Duke hammer Wake Forest, Paul's alma mater.

But when it came time to talk about their lives in the league, things couldn't have been more different. While Paul lives in Oklahoma City with his brother, Jack lives in Portland by himself. "And it's lonely," he said. "You get so bored you can't stand it."

While Paul has become not only the featured guard but also the featured player on his team, Jack is fighting for playing time with three other guards, Steve Blake, Juan Dixon and Sebastian Telfair. While Jack, who played at Georgia Tech, is a cross-country flight away from home, Paul is only a couple of hours from North Carolina.

Even during Wednesday night's game, a 102-86 Hornets victory, a stranger could see the difference in the NBA lives of the two rookies. Paul drives the lane and draws a hard foul -- and his four teammates are there to help him up. Jack drives the lane and draws a hard foul -- and he walks to the free throw line without a teammate saying a word. Or even patting him on the back.

"When you stop to think about it," Chris says. "A lot of it is luck. It's just the way it worked out. I was blessed."