Although it’s only been three weeks since the Hornets played their final game at the Ford Center, fans can relive some of their fond memories of the team through the eyes of star guard Chris Paul in a program at 6 p.m. Thursday on the NBA Network (Cox 256). The program focuses on the Hornets’ two seasons in Oklahoma City and some of what they have given back to the community.
Toyota’s “Tundra Turnaround,” the first of four half-hour shows on the network narrated by Andre Aldridge, looks at Paul’s effort in helping to refurbish the basketball court at Capitol Hill High School. Toyota provided funding for the project. “There are so many people that helped me get in the position I’m in,” Paul said. “I felt the least I could do is to give back to others.”
From meeting with Mayor Mick Cornett to receiving insights from Hub Reed, a 6-foot-9 Capitol Hill alumnus who went on to play in the NBA, Paul reveals a bond to Oklahoma City that will exist long after the Hornets’ return to New Orleans. “It’s not just a court,” said Paul, who spoke at the dedication ceremony for the new court. “It’s a sign of hope.”
In a segment at a coffee shop near the school, several former Capitol Hill standouts, including Reed and ex-New York Yankees pitcher Tom Sturdivant, reminesce about the school’s proud athletic history.
Paul received the NBA’s Community Assist Award for September 2006 and has partnered with Toyota on several programs, including NBA TV’s Toyota’s Moving Forward Moments and his Chris Paul Foundation.
Subsequent episodes of “Toyota Turnaroud” will look at efforts to restore basketball courts in Indianapolis (Jermaine O’Neal), Houston (Clyde Drexler and Elvin Hayes) and New Orleans (Bob Lanier).