A funny thing happened in the Dallas Mavericks locker room after Wednesday night’s 104-97 loss to Houston Rockets. Dennis Smith Jr. was fielding questions from the media when KXAS-TV Sports Director Newy Scruggs told Smith that Chris Paul was trying to text him.
“My phone did just vibrate,” Smith said, pulling out his phone.
Sure enough, Paul was indeed calling him as Smith turned the phone to show the reporters gathered around him before answering.
“Let me hit you back after I’m finished with the media, bro,” Smith told Paul.
The friendship between the two point guards started years ago. When Smith was growing up, he met Paul while participating in Paul’s basketball camps in his home state of North Carolina. The bond between the two continues to this day.
Chris Paul on Dennis Smith Jr., a fellow North Carolina native who attended his camp: "I’m probably one of his biggest fans. Y’all got a treat here in Dallas."— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 25, 2018
The appreciation between the two is mutual. Paul even took tow Twitter Thursday morning to make a prediction about Smith’s future in the NBA.
Their connection is greater than just basketball, though. Paul is a mentor to Smith.
“You know, he makes sure that I’m straight whether it’s on the court or off the court,” Smith said. “It’s more about life. He told me he’s staying [in Dallas] tonight so I’ll probably get up with him a little later, you know. Chat about some things. He’s just a real good genuine dude.”
Beyond life lessons, the nine-time All Star also dishes to the rookie about life in the NBA.
“I ask him how his rookie year was,” Smith said. “What’s the things that he went through? He’ll give me honest answers so that helps me grow as a player.”
As Smith continues his journey through the NBA, having a player like Paul in his corner will prove invaluable.