BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Living in Los Angeles was never the plan for Clippers guard Chris Paul.
"I’m born and raised on the East Coast," Paul said speaking Wednesday night at the Beverly Hilton at the 9th Annual LA Sports Awards. "I sort of swore on my life that I would never come this far away from home."
However, since he’s been here for the past two and a half years, he’s loving it. And for good reason.
"It’s a lot of sunshine," Paul said.
The Clippers guard has been a ray of sunshine for the organization and its fans. Last season, he led the team to a season sweep of the Lakers for the first time since the two began sharing the Staples Center, and also the first division championship in franchise history. For that and more, Paul was named the LA Sports Awards Sportsman of the Year Wednesday night.
Exclusive: Chris Paul has surprise for 11-year-old who designed his shoes. WATCH VIDEO
"I’m blessed," Paul said. "I get a chance to play basketball every day and say that’s my way of life.
"It’s a dream come true."
This season, there will be no season sweep of the Lakers, but the Clippers are in the driver’s seat to clinch a second straight division crown and a potential top four seed in the NBA’s loaded Western Conference.
Paul says bringing in first year head coach Doc Rivers has done wonders for him and the team.
"I’ve never had a coach that wants to win as bad as I want to," said Paul, who’s known to be one the the league’s fiercest competitors.
I get a chance to play basketball every day and say that’s my way of life…It’s a dream come true.
-- Chris Paul
Sportswoman of the Year honors went to Sparks forward and reigning WNBA MVP Candace Parker. The award was shared with swimmer Diana Nyad, whose words captured the audience as much as any coach or athlete who spoke.
Nyad, who became the first person to successfully complete the swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, told tales of her 53-hour, historical journey through some of the world’s most dangerous waters. She admitted she used song to get herself through. She says she sang "When WIll I Be Loved" by the Everly Brothers 1,000 times consecutively while swimming. It also helped her keep track of time because when she would do so, "exactly nine hours and 45 minutes" would go by.
Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten received Executive of the Year honors, and UCLA head coach John Savage was awarded Coach of the Year after leading the Bruins to their first College World Series title in school history.
High School Moment of the Year went to St. John Bosco for its perfect 16-0 season, winning the CIF Southern Section PAC-5 championship, the CIF Open Division Bowl, and earning the No. 1 ranking in the country. Nine players from the Braves team signed National Letters of Intent to play football at NCAA Division I programs.
The 2013 St. John Bosco Braves have gone down as arguably the greatest team ever in Southern California.