Barely an hour after leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a comeback victory over the New Orleans Hornets, NBA superstar Chris Paul arrived at Los Angeles Center Studios, just across the freeway from the Staples Center. Nattily dressed in a grey three-piece suit, navy cloth tie, and black wingtips, the All-Star point guard was hosting a party for a partnership between Jeep and USA Basketball. He’s a fitting spokesman for the joint venture: a gold medalist at the Beijing Olympics, Paul stood next to a black Jeep Wrangler outside Stage 6 and said he’d drive his own Jeep “until the wheels fall off.”
Inside, Biz Markie manned a DJ stand designed like the grille of a Jeep. As the Biz faded into “Electric Relaxation,” flashbulbs started popping; Kim Kardashian had just arrived. After being driven onto the stage in a maroon Jeep, Paul introduced his USA Basketball/Jeep ad, which plays over Common’s “The Believer.” Moments later, the Chicago rapper bounded onstage to “Blue Sky.” After performing songs such as “I Used to Love H.E.R.” and “Go,” Common freestyled about the evening’s honorees. In the back of the room, Paul’s teammate Chauncey Billups nodded his head to the music.