Rockets’ Chris Paul brings out stars for bowling event

CONROE – Rockets point guard Chris Paul played host to his 10th annual CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by Go Bowling! on Thursday afternoon at Bowlero The Woodlands, bringing some notable names to Montgomery County for a good cause.

The proceeds from the event benefit the Chris Paul Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth, education, health, sports and social responsibility. Paul started his foundation in 2005 and has held the bowling event since 2009 when four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James and PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch teamed up to win the inaugural title.

"Our foundation is doing an unbelievable job, whether it be in my hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, back in New Orleans, L.A., and now in Houston," Paul said. "Just trying to inspire the youth to give back to the community."

Paul and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke were the defending champions this time around, and Paul was aiming for his third straight win and fifth overall at the event.

The competition will air on FOX at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, the day of the Super Bowl.

"It’s huge," Rockets forward P.J. Tucker said. "Me and Chris grew up together, so anytime his family foundation has anything, I always try to show up and support. They do so much every single year, so just to be here is special for me, honestly."

Paul was joined at the event by several other stars from around the world of sports, including Tucker, Houston native and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson, Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens and NASCAR driver Aric Almirola.

Reality TV star Tyler Crispen, the runner-up on the most recent season of the CBS show "Big Brother," also competed, as did rapper Bun B.

PBA stars taking part in the event included Pete Weber, Chris Barnes, Andrew Anderson, Jason Belmonte, Tommy Jones, Sean Rash, EJ Tackett and Kyle Troup.

"It means the world," said Betts, who was the American League MVP this past season while leading the Red Sox to a World Series title. "Charity work is definitely something I want to be a part of, especially helping out a friend. … These are special people."

Paul has been out of the Rockets’ lineup since mid-December, dealing with a strained hamstring. Reigning MVP James Harden has picked up the slack with his nine-time All-Star teammate sidelined, scoring 30-plus points in an NBA-record 18 consecutive games. That includes his 57 points against the Grizzlies on Monday and a season-high 58 against the Nets on Wednesday night during a 145-142 overtime loss.

"It’s crazy, never seen nothing like it," Paul said of Harden’s recent performances. "James is a special player, and I think everybody has to appreciate the greatness that they’re seeing."

Paul is averaging 15.6 points and eight assists in 26 games this season, his 14th in the NBA. The Rockets were in fifth place in the Western Conference with a 25-19 record as of Thursday afternoon, five and a half games back of the first-place Golden State Warriors.

"I’m doing well, progressing, trying to get back on the court as soon as possible," Paul said. "But I’m continuing to listen to my body, and as soon as I’m able, I will be out there. … It’s tough, but big picture. I want to come back when I know I can help the team, not hurt the team."

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