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Chris Paul is ready to get back on the court.
The 35-year-old basketball player, like everyone, has been self-isolating at home as the coronavirus pandemic continues. But once — or if — the NBA season restarts, Paul tells PEOPLE he'll be prepared.
"You know, it's funny, when I was home for that first week or two, and it was like, 'Man, this is so nice,' because I live in Oklahoma without my family, so it was like it's so nice to be here, see my kids, see my wife and everything," he explains. "And then after a couple of weeks, I woke up and I looked at my wife — and it was crazy — I told her, I said, 'Babe, I miss it. Like I miss playing basketball like I need to play basketball.' "
He continues of wife Jada Paul, with whom he shares two children, "And she looked at me and said, 'I miss watching you play.' "
The Oklahoma City Thunder star and Jada have been together since he was a teenager, so the game is "part of our life."
A post shared by Chris Paul (@cp3) on Feb 14, 2020 at 3:58pm PST
"It's part of us, so I think us more than anybody probably wants the league to come back," he explains.
Paul is hoping for a return to the current season, though admits it will be weird if the NBA has to play without fans to promote safety amid the pandemic.
"I think what I've started to realize, especially in this quarantine, is that we may have a new normal," he says. "And what I'm learning is to not be so mad about certain things. ... Okay, if this is the new normal for a while, what does it look like? So I think us playing, at least giving fans something to watch, is better than nothing."
While at-home — when he's not keeping his kids active or helping his wife in their new role of teacher – Paul has been keeping in touch with his Thunder teammates.
A post shared by Chris Paul (@cp3) on Apr 30, 2020 at 5:42pm PDT
"We've got a team group chat, like most teams, but we also do a Zoom call once a week with everybody, to check-in, laugh, see what's going on," the NBA star tells PEOPLE.
Paul and his family have also been giving back, with The Chris Paul Family Foundation delivering food to underserved communities in places including Paul's hometown in North Carolina.
"I'm just trying to help in any way that we can," says the athlete.
He knows this period has been "an adjustment for everyone," and suggests keeping a routine as much as possible as a way to deal with the uncertainty.
Paul tells PEOPLE, "It's a constant struggle even for the people who you think look like they've got it all together."