LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul was back in a familiar building in a city he still calls home. With his parents, wife, kids and brother looking on, he became the third player in NBA history to reach 11,000 assists.
“There’s been a lot of firsts here at the Staples Center,” Paul said before correcting himself. “Well, Crypto arena.”
Paul assisted on the Suns’ first basket of the game, a 3-pointer by Booker. Paul followed with an alley-oop pass to Deandre Ayton, who dunked, to give him 11,000 assists.
“I honestly didn’t have a clue until I checked out of the game,” he said.
Paul joined John Stockton and Jason Kidd as the only players in NBA history with that many assists. Paul also became the first player in the league with 20,000 points and 11,000 assists.
“It’s amazing,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “I look at him and I’m like, holy smokes, I get to coach Chris Paul.”
Stockton had 15,806 assists and Kidd, now coach of the Dallas Mavericks, had 12,091.
Fittingly, Paul reached the mark against the Clippers, with whom he played for six seasons and is the franchise’s career assists leader. He mentioned former Lob City teammates Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and JJ Reddick for playing roles in his success.
Paul credited being a student of the game and his many teammates over his NBA career, now in its 18th season.
“I’ve been fortunate to play for a while now with a lot of great shooters, great players in general,” he said, ticking off such names as David West, Peja Stojakovic and now Booker. “I’m privileged.”
Paul finished with seven points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. He had a combined 21 assists in the Suns’ first two games of the season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.