WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- NBA All-Star and former Wake Forest Demon Deacon Chris Paul is holding his fifth annual youth basketball camp in Winston-Salem.
About 150 boys and girls, ages 8 to 16, are attending the four-day camp at the Southeast Gateway YWCA.
The New Orleans Hornets point guard is talking plenty of basketball and the importance of education. Paul started the youth basketball camp after looking back on his own early years in the Twin City.
"Just remembering how fun it was for me as a kid when I went to camps like this I could see some of the local high school players or college players.” said Paul. “It's just an unbelievable experience and it's just so much fun to be a kid."
The competition is intense, but friendly. As a learning experience, the camp is invaluable.
"They give you different drills on shooting and dribbling, and also you get to play with a bunch of your friends and people you don't know, so you can meet new friends," said Olufemi Boko, a camp participant.
Many come with aspirations to follow in Paul's footsteps.
"I want to go to college and then I want to go to the WNBA to pursue my career," said Kayla Robinson, another camp participant.
While playing in the NBA is serious business, Paul was quick to remind the kids that basketball is still just a game. "This is something you should enjoy,” said Paul. “You shouldn't do it if you hate to do it.
Paul said the camp was not just about developing individual skills. It was also about teamwork.
"My late coach Skip Prosser used to always say it's a team sport played by individuals,” said Prosser. “You always have to do different things to get better for yourself but at the end of the day it's all about coming together as a team."
And while he may be one of the NBA's highest paid stars, Paul told the kids that their schoolwork should come first. "Being in the NBA would never have been possible without going to school first," said Paul.
It was a lesson these kids took to heart.
"I think that's definitely the truth because without schoolwork when you get into college or high school you can't play," said Griffin Hawley, a camp participant.