Indiana Pacers star Paul George isn’t letting a long NBA season stop him from playing on the Team USA men’s basketball Olympic team.
George suffered a tibia fracture during a Team USA basketball scrimmage in August 2014, but despite this career setback, he still wants to play for the national team. George missed 76 games during the 2014-2015 NBA regular season, returning to action in April 2015.
“I think since I’ve been off, my body’s telling me ‘yes,’ my mind is telling me ‘yes,’ people around me are telling me ‘yes,'” George said in an interview with ESPN’s Cari Champion. “So I feel good about it. And you know . . . I want to give it a shot.”
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George and the Pacers had a rough season, going 45-37 to finish seventh in the Eastern Conference. But after their up-and-down regular season, the Pacers gave the Toronto Raptors a good fight in the first round of the playoffs, losing in seven games to the eventual Eastern Conference runner-up.
One of 31 finalists for the USA basketball team, George has an excellent chance to be selected to play in Rio this August. This season he averaged 23.1 points per game, highest of his career, on 41.8 percent shooting. He is the acknowledged leader of the Pacers, and as they prepare to transition from the Frank Vogel era, he will play a key role in their quest to return to powerhouse status in the East.
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George’s desire to play in the Olympics is a testament to his mental fortitude. Coming back from such a terrible injury takes not only physical strength, but mental strength as well. And as George continues to improve, playing in the Olympics would bolster his confidence.
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