Norwalk’s Paul Atkins, a renowned basketball player, dedicated father, and committed NPS employee, died late last year at the age of 60.
Paul Anthony Atkins, known to many as P.A., was born Jan. 24, 1960. Paul grew up in Norwalk’s Roodner Court. He attended and graduated from Brien McMahon High School in 1978 as an accomplished basketball player with an impressive history. During the 1976-77 school year, Paul led the Senators to their very first championship. The following year, he led the team to the semi-finals. Paul earned such titles as MVP, All-FCIAC, and All-State. His athletic success at McMahon positioned him for collegiate level basketball, where nearly 200 colleges competed to recruit him. He began his college basketball career at Henderson County Jr. College in Texas, where he was named an all-American in 1980.
After earning his associate’s degree, Paul went to play at New Mexico State his junior year and then transferred to Dallas Baptist College. He excelled enough at Dallas Baptist for the Boston Celtics to pick him in the sixth round of the 1983 NBA draft. He was among the last of the cuts to the Celtics roster. Thereafter, he was assigned to play for the Bay State Bombardiers in the Continental Basketball Association, a men’s professional basketball minor league. A few weeks into the season, at age 24, Paul was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer. He triumphed over his cancer battle and returned to the court almost a year later. Paul would go on to play professionally in Buenos Aires for two seasons, one season in Venezuela, and three years in Belgium, where he became fluent in Spanish. His passion for basketball was replaced with his love for fatherhood when his son Jesiah was born in 1994. Paul played with the Harlem Rockets traveling basketball team before retiring in 1996 at the age of 36.
After retiring from basketball, Paul worked for Norwalk Public Schools in security at Brien McMahon, where he remained employed until his retirement.
Paul represented Norwalk both on and off the court throughout his life and career. The Board of Education remembers and honors Paul’s life and many accomplishments. While Paul is deeply missed within the community and beyond, his perseverance and dedication lives on as an inspiration to us all.