Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

18. Chris Paul

United States
Age: 23

Call him America's eyes. A point guard for the U.S. basketball team, Paul possesses the perfect combination of passing touch, a scorer's skills, and the speed needed to play tight D. Paul enjoyed a breakout season with the New Orleans Hornets this season, as he averaged a career-high 21.6 points per game, an NBA-high 11.6 assists, and finished second to Kobe Bryant in the league MVP voting. His Hornets had the second best record in the Western Conference. Paul is a marketer's dream: personable, philanthropic (he's active in New Orleans charity), and down-to-earth. His principal vice: bowling. He's even a spokesman for the United States Bowling Congress. He believes the U.S. team will roll in Beijing. "I love this team's personality right now," he says. "We love being around each other, and we love playing basketball. We're psyched."