All-Star flashback: Paul George reflects on his time with Pacers

Paul George reflected on his seven seasons with the Indiana Pacers during NBA All-Star weekend in Indianapolis.

Indiana Pacers, Paul George, NBA All-Star
Indiana Pacers, Paul George, NBA All-Star / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Paul George’s All-Star trip to Indianapolis last weekend wasn’t the first time he’s returned since his messy breakup with the Pacers, and it certainly won’t be the last. Though the boos rain down from the stands of Gainbridge Fieldhouse when the ball finds George’s hands, time is steadily dulling that noise, turning those boos into appreciative cheers as a new era of success heals the hearts of Pacer fans.  

“Great memories,” George said of his time with Indiana during All-Star weekend. “I mean we had a great run, really just a special group of guys.” 

When George reflects on Indy, his memories aren’t marked by his controversial exit or the playoff battles against LeBron James’ Miami Heat, but his focus shifts to the people who shaped his journey. 

“Just the group that I got drafted here with, I learned so much through them,” George said. He’s now spent seven seasons away from the Pacers, two with Oklahoma City and five with the Los Angeles Clippers, which matches the amount of time he dedicated to Indiana. The veterans of those Pacers teams are etched in George’s mind, and he remembers them when he reflects on his early days as a pro. 

“You talk about George [Hill], talk about Danny [Granger], talk about Roy [Hibbert], [David] West,” George began. “Guys like Brandon [Rush], [A.J.] Price, Jeff Foster, Mike Dunleavy. Those guys I learned so much from.” 

The Indiana Pacers made the playoffs in six out of George’s seven seasons with the team, the lone outlier being 2014 – the year George played just six regular season games due to a broken leg sustained with USA Basketball. 

His Pacers teams made the Eastern Conference Finals twice, losing the NBA Finals bid to the Miami Heat in both 2013 and 2014. George found himself on the NBA’s All-Defense list in both seasons, leading the Pacers to the best defensive rating in the league during the two extended postseason runs. 

George was named to an All-NBA team three times in his Pacers tenure, and was selected to represent Indiana in four All-Star games over the same time. 

Now, almost seven seasons removed from those experiences, George reflects on Indianapolis with gratitude and appreciation. The Pacers built the 2013 Most Improved Player into one of the craftiest wings in the NBA, and he holds that fact in high esteem. He also recognizes the job he and his teammates did to restore the Pacers nearly a decade after the Malice at the Palace outburst put a permanent stain on the perception of the organization around the league.  

“I thought we really established a culture here,” George said of his Pacers years. “I thought we revived the Indiana Pacers. So honestly, I think it was just a great time for me to be here. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity they gave me here.”

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