Chris Paul Hugs Billy Crystal

Last night, the Phoenix Suns defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in order to move on to the NBA Finals. But before they celebrated their win, star player Chris Paul gave a shoutout to actor/comedian Billy Crystal, a longtime Clippers fan who had been there at the start of Paul's career.

Crystal has been a supporter of the Clippers since the 1970s, back when they were still the San Diego Clippers. He cheered them on through decades of the team being considered an unsalvageable failure, and was there for their 2010s comeback with the "Lob City" lineup. Part of the reason this zestful comeback succeeded was Chris Paul, who was part of the Clippers from 2011 to 2017.

In his victory speech, Paul paid tribute to this loyalty, thanking all the Clippers fans for their support but singling out Billy Crystal in particular from the audience. Paul referred to Crystal and the fans he represented as his "family", and promised to never forget them: "I'll always be a Clipper". He went on to hug Crystal after the game.

Paul started his career with the New Orleans Hornets before being controversially traded to the Clippers in a deal that the NBA repeatedly attempted to shut down. After spending six years on the Clippers alongside future basketball superstars DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets, then to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and then finally to the Phoenix Suns. With his most recent win, Paul advances to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career.

Audiences can watch the NBA Finals on ABC sometime between July 6th and July 22nd, depending on the length of the Eastern Conference Finals.

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