On the court, Chris Paul is a force for the Los Angeles Clippers, recently returning from a thumb injury to put up double-digit points in back-to-back games. On Instagram, Paul is similarly competitive—racking up 6.2 million followers by being able to laugh at his mistakes (and buddy Kevin Hart’s relentless mocking). Back in 2015, for example, Paul was knocked to the ground by a fierce crossover from Steph Curry. Hart, of course, sent Paul a meme of the shot, his body bent over a Twister board.
These kinds of hijinks make Paul’s Instagram feel like a sort of playground, for Hart and for Paul’s kids, including the AAU youth teams he works with. Fast Company spoke with Paul about his Instagram strategies and his new philanthropic opportunity with real estate investment firm Turner Impact Capital.
How do you use Instagram? What kinds of things do you post?
With Instagram the people you enjoy following the most are people who are authentic. For me a lot of times there’s a lot of things surrounding my family and my kids, what’s going on in my life. Most of the stuff I do basketball-wise people get an opportunity to see at the games or on ESPN. I’m always trying to show people that we’re more than just athletes. We do normal things like everybody else. I take my kids to school and pick them up like everybody else.
How do you use Instagram to work with brands?
I’m partnered with Jordan, and I’m partnered with State Farm. It gives you a platform to offer insight into things you’re doing with your partners. I almost wonder what I did in the world before social media to find out and share information. I’m working out, training, and looking at my Instagram feed like “oh, that happened.” I remember after the Christmas Day game, Kevin Hart posted something funny on Instagram about a suit I was wearing and I reposted it.
Yeah, I saw one of Kevin’s posts about you. How did you and him become friends?
I’ve known Kev for a while. He was at my wedding back in 2010, so we’ve been friends for a while now. Kevin works incredibly hard. I get attached to people who are not only passionate about what they do no matter what field it is, but people who are also passionate about their kids and their families. That’s where the connection between me and Kev came in.
You just joined Turner Impact Capital and are going to be working with them. Why did you decide to be part of that?
I’ve had the opportunity to do so many great philanthropic things. You can’t imagine the faces of the kids when we get to work with them, but it’s also frustrating at times. This partnership with Turner Impact gives us the opportunity to make sustainable and scalable change in these different areas. Whether I’m playing in New Orleans or California or back in my home state of North Carolina, one of the major issues is affordable housing. To be able to go into these communities and try to make a change is something I’m really excited about.
What will you actually be doing with them?
First and foremost I’m an investor. But I’m excited to be able to bring awareness to these issues. We looked at the research and saw that one out of four homes is spending over 50% of their income on rent. That doesn’t leave much for food, tutoring, health. If you’re spending that much money on your rent you don’t have enough to pay for tutoring for your kids. What we’re trying to do with Turner Impact is bring services to these communities and give people reasons to stay and be proud of where they live.