Paul George Achieves Goal, Dream
Paul George was honored and ecstatic when he first got word from his agent on Thursday that he made the All-Star team, for the first time. It is a tremendous individual accomplishment, and one that he’s been determined to achieve since he arrived in the league three years ago.
“This is a dream, really,” Paul George told Pacers.com. “I always wanted to be in the NBA. I always wanted to be an All-Star. To overcome and achieve those goals, it makes you want to keep on striving to set higher and higher goals.”
Once his All-Star selection was announced, during a special on TNT, his phone began blowing up. Hundreds of messages — from friends, teammates, and other players in the league — plus thousands upon thousands of tweets, mostly from fans. But a couple texts particularly stood out to George.
“It was pretty cool that ‘KD,’–Kevin Durant, and LeBron (James) reached out to congratulate me. That was pretty big.”
The way he’s playing, the messages are only going to increase. He has taken his game to new heights and become, as Frank Vogel likes to describe him, one of the best two-way players in the league. His play on the defense end has been outstanding and his offensive numbers have jumped significantly.
George, the 10th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, is the only player in his draft class to be named an All-Star. The list includes John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins and Indiana native Gordon Hayward, who was taken one spot ahead of George, by Utah–Saturday’s opponent.
“It means a lot. I’ll be the first to say that I think that we had an amazing draft class and a lot of talent in that draft class. I just think I was just given a great opportunity, being picked at ten, to step into this organization, who was ready to take that next step. For myself to be a part of it, and a contributor, I think I was just blessed to be picked to the right team.
“The first step is to prove yourself in the league. Then, that’s when figure out what your niche is in the league and then you expand and grow from there. I was fortunate to do so.”
You could sense George was a special talent. He’s a humble, charismatic player, and rising star. But he’s had to work at it, overcoming bumps in the road and doubters along his path. One singular event, a scoreless evening in Golden State on December 1st, may have been exactly what he needed. Looking back, almost two months later, George said the night was a blessing in disguise.
“That was definitely a pivotal moment in my career. I’ll always remember that night and the way I felt after that night.”
Paul George and the other 11 Eastern Conference All-Stars face the best of the West on Sunday, Feb. 17th in Houston.