Chris Paul's Shoe Party had Celebrities, Open Bar

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CP3 and the Fam

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Photographs by Jonathan Bachman

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Chris Paul had his shoe release party last night at The Republic (ESPN report here) and it was a pretty star-studded affair (at least by New Orleans standards...this isn't L.A., after all). Among those in attendance were Wendell Pierce (Officer Bunk!), rappers MC Lyte and Bun B, Big Tigger from "106 & Park" and L'il Wayne (more on him in a seperate post). Aside from the brief open bar the media was provided before everyone started arriving, I have not much to report since, well, it was a red carpet. People arrive, they take turns talking to the media and then they go inside where we weren't allowed to follow with tape recorders and cameras.

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Interesting side note, however: After we were done doing the celebrity thing, Jonathan and I went to go meet up with some friends at Vic's Kangaroo Cafe and who did we see but Sean Marks grabbing a slice of pizza before heading to CP3's party. I got to talking with him and, not to spoil the surprise, we came up with a great (possible) story to do regarding him and a favorite New Zealand sport. Oh, and to be clear, Vic's is an Australian pub and New Zealanders are supposed to hate Australians. Marks didn't seem to mind, though.

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But back to the party, hit the jump for a slew of pictures and quotes from most of the people that attended.

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officer bunk!

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Wendell Pierce said that he came straight from the airport to the shoe party (he flew in from New York, where he was narrating at an African American music festival at Carnigie Hall) so he didn't get a chance to check out the new Chris Paul shoes or the Hornets win over the Mavericks last night. I took the chance to ask about his Lake Ponchartrain recovery (he said they're breaking ground) and about the new HBO show he's filming down here, "Treme."  Pierce had some encouraging things to say about the pilot:

David [Simon, the show's creator] has the sensibility of character that a lot of folks don't have. And he can come to a city and really identify something that's really unique. I think he's tapped into that. The one thing, if we don't make it, it won't be for the fact that we're not authentic. We'll be very authentic.

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Corey Hebert looking sharp

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WDSU medical editor Dr. Corey Hebert was in attendance fresh off of attending the Hornets game. He's a season ticket holder and his voice was hoarse after cheering so much during the Hornets win last night. "I don't miss a game," he said. He also talked a little bit about what Chris Paul means for the Crescent City.

"Chris Paul, really, is quintessential New Orleans person right now because he is bringing media, he's bringing money, he's bringing power and he's really good at his craft. And that's what I think the history of New Orleans is and that's where I think we should be going, to think about innovative ways to do the best thing and do it better."

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Big Tigger

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Big Tigger from 106 & Park was in the house spinning some records for the party goers. Tigger is a big sneaker fan and is an avid shoe collector. In the echelon of basketball shoes, Tigger said that the CP3.II is an emerging shoe. "Anything with that Jumpman on it is always pretty hot," he said. He also added that Chris Paul is making his own name and legacy.

"What [Chris Paul] is really doing is creating his own legend. He's taking a well-respected brand and he's carving out his own niche within the brand, which is good. I'd love to see him continue to play the way he plays and excel the way he's been excelling and have the CP3 take off. Jordan was kind of my generation, and he's basically the next generation, but it's still attached to that Jumpman."

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C.J. and his entourage

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C.J. Paul (pictured above, center) was one of the first to arrive, no doubt making sure everything inside would be all set for his little brother. I got a chance to speak with him before the game and he talked about how, while shoe release parties don't happen every day, he's already used to all the celebrities that seem to constantly surround his brother. "It's normal to me. I guess it is now," he said. "I've never been very star struck by anybody. If I'm not star struck when I meet Michael Jordan I'm not going to be star struck at all, that's the way I see it."

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Byron Scott and the Misses

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All the Hornets coaches made an appearance at the party (they were actually among the first to arrive, probably getting the party out of the way early to prepare for today's practice and tomorrow's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder) including Byron Scott and his wife. Scott said that, when he was a player, there weren't these mid-season shoe release parties with celebrities and media everywhere. As a coach, he doesn't mind it, though.

I don't think it's a distraction after a game. It's kind of a time for the guys to blow some steam, kind of get together and talk a little bit, enjoy the night and get back to work tomorrow. ... It's the way of the world and the way the league has change a bit. It's a good thing, it's all good.

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Scott also mentioned that he loves the new shoes as long as Chris plays like he did last night every time he wears them.

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Jason Mayden with the shoe.

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Jason Mayden, the man who collaborated with Paul to design the CP3.II said that he was struck at how emotional the shoe release was for Paul's parents. As noted in the ESPN story, Charles Paul would get his kids a pair of brand-new Air Jordans every Christmas. Because they were so nice, and cost so much, Chris and C.J. Paul had to wear the shoes judiciously. Now, Chris has his own shoe and all the Jordan brand products he wants.

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Just one look at the shoe and the way Jordan Brand is marketing it and it's obvious that Paul wanted to go to his roots with this sneaker. If you missed yesterday's video, the shoe pays homage to everyone that's helped Paul become the man he is to day: his parents, his brother, his late grandfather and late college coach.

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Bun B number 1

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Rapper Bun B, of the group UGK, took Big Tigger's praise a step further and said that the CP3.II would be one of the "top tier" shoes ever released.

"The one thing about shoes and especially the Jordan Brand, the excellence of the shoe corresponds with the excellence of the athlete. Chris Paul is just getting better every single time, every single day and his shoes are improving. The first shoe was a great shoe, this one is even more incredible."

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MC Lyte

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MC Lyte was looking good on the red carpet. As you can tell by her boots, she's a fan of patent leather and said that she was a fan of the CP3.II for the same reason.

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And the most entertaining part, for me at least, of the whole red carpet experience was the number of people who had clearly never been on a red carpet and posed to have their pictures taken even though not many people recognized who they were.

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Hornets photog

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who are these guys?

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Jonathan and his gf

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posey peace

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OK, so that last one is James Posey, but you get the idea.

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