It is easy to forget where it all started for PG13. Before partnering with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma, before headlining the MVP race, he was on his rise to stardom for the Pacers. He spent 7 seasons in Indiana, containing many ups and downs.
When he eventually asked for a trade in 2017, it broke a lot of hearts… and the breakup was not a clean one.
Looking back, both sides might be better off. Which is one reason why, when asked about having his jersey retired by the franchise, he was hesitant to say it should happen.
I’m not sure. And quite frankly, I’m not sure if I’ve done enough to have a jersey hung here. But that’s not in my hands.
The quote was taken from a larger story about PG’s recent return to Indianapolis, where the Thunder lost to his former team in dramatic fashion. He stated the experience was emotional, but also made clear he has no regrets about leaving. Regarding his potential jersey retirement, he explained that while he’d love that honor, it is not something he thinks he has earned, at least not with all the other names hanging in the rafters.
Well, I’m stacked up against a lot of greats. Again, what Reggie did here and the 18-plus years of excellence, that’s the last guy to do it, so that’s big shoes that I would’ve filled. … I would love to (have the jersey retired), because I can’t say I would’ve made it to where I’m at if it wasn’t for this opportunity here and the chance I got to be Paul George here. So we’ll see.
To be short, Indiana is not what made George, Evidently, he hints it has been his time in OKC that completed who he has wanted to be as a player. The numbers back that idea up.
In the midst of the best season of his career, George finds himself not only on the verge of what will likely be a long playoff run, but also in the conversations for MVP, Most Improved Player, and Defensive Player of the Year.
He did a lot for Indy and was probably the best player they had since Reggie. However, considering where the Pacers are now (without him), and the lack of any real accomplishments during his time there, it probably would be a hard sell to say Paul George’s number will be retired by the team.
Not that it really matters to either side anyway…