Chris Paul

Bulls' Coby White opens up about his family's deep bond with Chris Paul

Bulls' Coby White opens up about his family's deep bond with Chris Paul

In simpler times, people were up in arms about a post game photo.

Namely, one that Coby White and Wendell Carter Jr. took with Chris Paul of the Thunder after the Bulls relinquished a 26-point lead to fall 109-106 in Oklahoma City back in December.

Coby's brother Will came to their defense after the fact. Here’s an excerpt of that defense, which added necessary context to the discourse surrounding the situation:

 

Coby and Will discussed their deep-rooted connection with Paul on the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk podcast.

"Whenever I took that picture, the whole internet was going crazy," Coby said. "I was like, 'Y'all just don't know what the meaning is behind it, and what's going on.' He helped all of us out. Anyone who played for CP3, and they're in the league, he always looks out for us no matter what. He's always going to be there for us. So it was bigger than basketball."

Coby played for Paul's AAU team in his high school years, and Paul even offered emotional support to the White family after they tragically lost Donald White — Coby and Will’s father — to a hard-fought battle with liver cancer in 2017.

RELATED: Coby White, Chris Paul share bond that's bigger than basketball 

"He's meant a lot to me," Coby said of Paul. "When I started playing for CP3 when I was 16, he came to a game and he pulled me aside, and we started talking. He knew about my life, who I was and how I played. He said I played with a chip on my shoulder, and I had something to prove every time I played. 

“So after that, he gave me his number, his contact and it just went from there. It's little things like that. It's Chris Paul. He doesn't have to take the time out to text me from time to time or call me and ask me how I'm doing. And I'm still in high school, I'm a high school kid, so that's a big part. And he played a big part whenever my father died."

That support extended even beyond Chris, to the Paul family at large.

"He was always there for me, checking in on me," Coby said. "And his family means a lot. His mom is real close to my mom. His dad came to a game just to see me play this year. He came to Chicago just to see me play. We weren't playing Chris. [Chris] wasn't there. [Chris’ father] just wanted to come see me play and check in on me. His dad and mom play a big role and his brother, C.J. 

“They're like a second family. They're people I can count on. I can go to them for anything. Anything. Chris will help me out with and he's just somebody I look up to. He's somebody who will always have my back and be on my side."

Paul saw firsthand how Coby improved during the course of the season in the two team's second meeting in Chicago in February. White scored 35 points in 33 minutes in that game — another close Bulls loss, this time 124-122. 

 

Coby and Paul caught up on the court after the final buzzer.

"It was funny,” Coby said. "Before the game [Paul] texted me. He said, 'I'm watching your film from the last five games.' I said, 'The last two (in which White had scored 33 points each) are different from the other three.’ He was like basically, 'You ain't getting 33.' I was like, 'That's cool, we're going to see.' 

“So after the game, he pulled me over and we were talking. I was like, 'I thought you said I wasn't going to get 33.' He said, 'You didn't.' I was like, 'Yeah, you're right because I got 35.' And then he was like, 'You got 35?' And I was like, 'Yeah. There was a couple of them on your head.' And then we got a joking kind of thing. It's all love. It was dope. It was fun. 

“We didn't get the win, that was the most important thing. We didn't get the win, but it was a hard-fought game for both teams. We were going at it the whole game. It's hard to win in the league. You'll learn that as soon as you get there. It's hard to win in the league, especially against good teams."

In a relationship described as "bigger than basketball," those moments and lessons will certainly be cherished for all time.

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Bulls star Zach LaVine expected to participate in NBA's HORSE competition

Bulls star Zach LaVine expected to participate in NBA's HORSE competition

Let's take a break from the roller-coaster Bulls front office search for a moment of levity, shall we?

Zach LaVine is set to participate in a televised H-O-R-S-E competition with other notable NBA/WNBA players and alumni, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The competition will reportedly be broadcast on ESPN.

LaVine has stayed busy during the NBA's hiatus, participating in online Call of Duty and NBA2K tournaments, albeit to limited success. A game of H-O-R-S-E should be more suited to his strengths. This season, LaVine separated himself as one of the premiere tough shot-makers in the league, and he's got some tricks up in his bag that most in the competition couldn't dream of achieving.

We know you're done with the dunk contest Zach, but... Could we just get one 360 from the free throw line? As a treat?

Chris Paul and Trae Young were also listed by Wojnarowski as participants, though it appears details are still be finalized. In any case, we'll certainly be watching.

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Coby White is making history left and right in absurd three-game stretch

Coby White is making history left and right in absurd three-game stretch

Coby White is enjoying a special stretch of basketball right now. In each of the Bulls’ two games prior to Tuesday night’s matchup with the Thunder, White set and matched career-high scoring totals with consecutive 33-point outings — something no rookie reserve had ever done

But Chris Paul was determined to stop it.

“I told Coby he wasn’t going to score 33 tonight,” said Paul, who coached White at the AAU level and has forged a deep bond with him since

Mission accomplished. Sort of.

White poured in a new career-high of 35 points in a nail-biter of a 124-122 loss to Oklahoma City, shooting 13-for-21 from the field and 6-for-9 from 3-point range. At 20 years old and in his first NBA season, White has now logged three 30-point games in a row, all off the bench. Here are a few reasons that is statistically ridiculous:

  • White is the first reserve in Bulls franchise history to post three consecutive 30-point games (via Bulls Game Notes)

  • White is the first rookie to score 30 points in three consecutive games since starters were first recorded in 1970-71 (via ESPN Stats & Info)

  • He’s also the first rookie to achieve that feat while hitting five or more 3-pointers in each game since the 3-point shot was introduced in 1979-80 (via Elias Sports Bureau)

  • Zach LaVine and White became the second pair of Chicago teammates in franchise history to each score 30-plus points in consecutive games, joining Bob Love and Chet Walker, who did it in 1969 (via Elias Sports Bureau)

  • White is the first Bulls rookie to score 35 points in a game since Ben Gordon in 2005. Other Bulls rookies to score 35 points in a game: Michael Jordan (21 times) and Elton Brand (twice). Solid company (via Bulls Game Notes)

  • In his last three games, White is averaging 33.7 points per on 57.4/58.1/92.9 shooting splits (20.3 FGA/g, 10.3 3PA/g). 

  • In that stretch, the Bulls are scoring at a rate of 120.1 points per 100 possessions (with a +15.6 net rating) with White on the floor, and just 92.2 points per 100 (with a -41.8 net rating) with him off.

  • I don’t have any further historical context for those last two. They’re just absurd.

“That’s what he [does]. He shoots lights out,” Paul said. “I’m glad to see that he’s playing with that confidence, and this summer we’ll get in the gym and we’ll go to work.

"I watch him play just about every time we don't play, so I'm happy to see him doing well."

 

“He’s coming into his own, and I’ve said this from day one, he’s special. He can score the ball like no other,” Zach LaVine said. “He’s continuing to get better. He’s 20 years old, I think he’s starting to find his groove right now.”

LaVine and White combined for 76 of the Bulls’ 122 points against Oklahoma City, collectively keeping the team’s offense afloat in a floundering first half, then vaulting them back into the game with an infernal third quarter. LaVine (with 19 points) and White (with nine) combined for 28 points on collective 12-for-17 shooting (4-for-6 from deep) in the third, a period the Bulls won 38-19.

“It’s been great, especially with both of us on the court,” LaVine said. “There was a couple times in the fourth — that third quarter, when we were down, I spent so much energy trying to get us back into it — and he held onto that lead for us. 

“But it’s been great, man. He’s been putting a lot of hard work in. I go into the gym late or I shoot after practice and he’s right there. He’s gonna be special.”

White played 33 minutes in the game and was a team-high +15. When he’s ‘on’ he makes the Bulls fun, interesting and electric. LaVine went on to sing gratitude for White’s ability to draw defensive attention away from him over the course of games, and shoulder on-ball responsibilities in spot moments.

Just don’t ask Jim Boylen if he’s ready to promote White to the starting lineup.

“I keep getting this question and I'm just going to answer it one more time,” Boylen said. “Coby’s in a good place. We’re going to keep him in a good place. Let’s let Coby keep playing and lets let him keep developing.”

Point taken. And the way things are going, perhaps that’s perfectly OK.

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