In last year’s NBA All-Star game, Paul George was a revelation for many fans. With the recent success of the Indiana Pacers it was not a complete surprise, but it might be that fans simply did not see George as a superstar yet and he used the game as an opportunity to open some eyes.
In his first appearance among the NBA’s finest, George dropped 17 points, including some key buckets down the stretch as the game transformed from exhibition to somewhat competitive basketball. Making his second appearance in 2014, George is now the face of the best team in the NBA. He isn’t the new guy anymore, but he says that he still feels that way (quotes from Guerry Smith of the Indy Star Tribune):
I’m still wide-eyed, it just being my second one…There’s still a lot of stuff that’s new to me. It’s a real loose and fun environment here. I’m just happy to share it with coach Vogel and Roy.”
The stage is only going to get bigger for George, who is averaging 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists in 52 games this season, as the Pacers look poised for another showdown with the Miami Heat in this year’s playoffs. With another year of hype and another year for the country to get familiar with his work, George will be a household name by then.
The All-Star Game will likely serve as a good primer, then, when it comes to dealing with that spotlight, even if it does little in terms of experience in actual competitive basketball games.