Chris Paul is an eight-time All-Star who also serves as president of the National Basketball Players Association while keeping up a relationship with a fictional twin brother working in insurance. The Jordan Brand recognized these complexities in the ninth edition of Paul's signature sneaker, the CP3.IX, which hit the market Oct. 1, with a design that reads like a novel.
A Jordan Brand designer equated Paul's point guard movements to that of Chinese dragons weaving through the New Year's parade. Further studies of mythical dragons revealed that the yellow dragon is known for scholarly knowledge. Based on Paul's exceptional basketball I.Q., this became the cornerstone for the sneaker. Each of the four CP3.IX colorways include a yellow dragon on the back. The Yellow Dragon color scheme, now available in China, where the Clippers play during the preseason as part of NBA Global Games 2015, is the premiere model of the group.
The CP3.IX midsole sticks with the dragon theme even when not visible. It consists of a nine-chamber zoom bag (nine is a lucky number in Chinese) that sits on the outsole. It "acts like a piston for mechanical cushioning" when the forefoot hits the ground.
The bottom of the shoe displays the Chinese character for family. It remains the same color as the outsole, so it can go easily unnoticed. Paul inserted the symbol to represent his close relationships with family members.
But the family mark Paul appreciates most is on the inside of the heel. There is a Pac-Man-looking symbol that is actually the convergence of a ring and a stadium. The image represents Paul's wife, Jada Crawley, whom he met at Wake Forest's Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, while both Demon Deacons students. Paul was born and raised in Winston-Salem before becoming an All-American at Wake Forest.
All nine editions of Paul's signature shoes have included an ode to his late grandfather. Nathaniel Jones was murdered the day after Paul accepted a scholarship to Wake Forest. Then a senior at West Forsyth High School, Paul went out and scored 61 points in his first game back. Jones was 61 at the time of his death. The CP3.IX pays tribute to Jones with the design of the Chevron logo on the sole. Jones owned a Chevron service station in North Carolina.
"It was the first black-owned service station and that is where I worked every summer," Paul told Sports Illustrated. "Anytime my dad or uncle got laid off, they went to the service station."
Paul, who wears a new pair of sneakers every game, says he likes to pull out old CP3 models, going retro sometimes. But some first-generation sneakers are too worn to be used at an elite level in 2015.
The CP3.IX are labeled part of the "Striking Control" campaign. The shoe's 360 lacing system represents Paul's 360 degrees of lockdown defense.
The Yellow Dragon colorway debuted Friday in China, while the Emerald theme was put on sale in both China and North America. Emerald is Paul's birthstone. Two other color schemes, "Hornets" and "Papa Chili," will be rolled out as the holiday season approaches.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.