The feud started, as these things often do, with a Tobacco Road rivalry. A fight at Michael Jordan's camp followed, as did an injury scare.
But when J.J. Redick joined the Los Angeles Clippers in July to become Chris Paul's new backcourt mate … well, both Redick and Paul knew it was finally time to end their dislike of each other.
"We have actually had a chance to become real close, real quick," Paul told Yahoo Sports. "Who would have thought after the battles we had in college."
Said Redick: "We connected right away."
The rivalry between Paul and Redick began when they both played in the Atlantic Coast Conference at schools just a 90-minute drive from each other: Redick starred at Duke from 2002-06 and Paul was at Wake Forest from 2003-05.
"We had some battles at Wake Forest," Redick said. "The game I kind of got into it with him our team had like three or four technicals."
Said Paul: "Before I got to know him he was no friend of mine. It is what it is. But that's how it was in college."
The boiling point between Paul and Redick came in the summer of 2004 when both were counselors at the Jordan Brand Camp in Santa Barbara, Calif. During a scrimmage between the two, Redick became so irritated that he struck Paul.
"I actually had to apologize to him," Redick said. "…I put my hands on him during a game. It was a hand to the face type of move. I don't know how to describe it.
"We were in the dorm at UC Santa Barbara, and I was told I had to apologize to him. I knew he didn't like me then, but he did [accept the apology]."
Since joining the NBA, Paul and Redick never spoke over the past seven seasons. Last season, Paul missed three games after bumping knees with Redick during a 104-101 loss to the Orlando Magic on Jan. 12 that snapped a franchise-record 13-game home winning streak for the Clippers.
Redick said the last incident caused Paul to "harbor more animosity" toward him.
"I didn't like him either," Redick said.
After the Clippers acquired coach Doc Rivers, their next big move came when they agreed to acquire Redick on July in a three-team, four-player trade. Redick netted a four-year, $27 million contract in the deal. The Clippers also sent promising young guard Eric Bledsoe to the Phoenix Suns.
"For Doc and the Clippers to make a decision like that and to trade Bledsoe, I knew Chris would be on board with that," Redick said.
Said Paul: "I remember the day I found out we had J.J. and I called him immediately. I was excited."
With the addition of Redick, the Clippers now have one of the league's best 3-point shooters to go along with one of the best point guards.
"Our skill sets complement each other," Redick said. "In terms of shot creation he helps me in that regard. Doc's offense, with all the movements, helps me in shot creation. Playing off a guy like Chris is going to be fun. On the other hand, I'm a secondary ball-handler and playmaker that can help make his job easier as well."
The ice between Paul and Redick began to thaw from the initial phone call after they became teammates. They have since hung out together with their wives, who have also become close.
"We have actually had a chance to become real close, real quick," Paul said. "Who would have thought after the battles we had in college. But the one thing about him, he's a pro. Everyone in professional sports knows what that means."
Redick also knows why he and Paul didn't get along.
"We didn't like each other," he said, "because we were both so damn competitive."
- Sports & Recreation
- Chris Paul
- Los Angeles Clippers