NBA

Chris Paul accepts NBA assists record is out of reach

Chris Paul is now third in the all-time NBA assists rankings and he is grateful to be able to reach such heights. He is behind Jason Kidd and John Stockton.

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Chris Paul accepts NBA assists record is beyond him: That ship sailed a while ago!

Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul admitted feeling humbled to have moved up to third in the all-time NBA assists rankings on Tuesday but has no hopes of ever breaking the all-time record. The 36-year-old has already enjoyed a busy start to the new season, having been named among the NBA's 75 greatest players and become the first player to amass 20,000 points and 10,000 assists.

He had another reason to celebrate in the Suns' 112-100 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, his 18 assists on the day – a season best – helping him surpass Hall of Famer Steve Nash (10,335) and Mark Jackson (10,334) for the third-most in NBA history. Paul now has 10,346 across his entire career, a haul bettered by only Jason Kidd (12,091) and record-holder John Stockton (15,806). But, given his age, Paul acknowledged Stockton's record is beyond him.

Paul, grateful for assists feat

"I looked at that list when I first came into the league and seeing that John Stockton and I was like, 'I'm going to get it.' But that ship sailed. That ship sailed. It sailed a while ago when I started missing all them games," he said with a laugh. But to be third and still be playing, I'm grateful for it and I still got a ways to go. I'm grateful and I thank God for this opportunity. I say it all the time, not only to be on a team and still be in the league but to still be playing. You don't take that for granted."

Paul's achievements are not lost on his team-mates, either, even if they have subconsciously started to accept his feats as anything but unusual. Suns guard Devin Booker said: "We keep acting like this is normal. We go in the locker room like, 'Oh you passed Steve Nash, Mark Jackson. Game ball.'

"It's bigger than that, man. It really is. Obviously, I know he was going to be close [to Nash's total] coming into today and he passed it by a lot. I'm just happy to be a part of it. I'm just inspired by it, honestly. Been a fan for a really long time. It's really fun to see, it's really fun to be a part of it. A long time from now, I'll be able to say I got to play with Chris Paul."

Paul has averaged 9.4 assists each game across his NBA career, a record only Magic Johnson (11.2), Stockton (10.5) and Oscar Robertson (9.5) can better. "It's pretty cool to watch greatness," Suns coach Monty Williams added.