Paul George Trying To Find The Right Balance Amid His New-Found Stardom
Pacers F Paul George is "navigating the choppy waters of stardom," and in his fourth year in the NBA, he is "expected to be the leader of a championship contender and build his brand from scratch," according to Candace Buckner of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. George said of his budding stardom, "All of this is what I wanted from growing up watching guys have their own commercials, own sneakers, being on cereal boxes. All of that was something I definitely dreamed of. But now, it's like, it's a lot of work. It's probably more work than being on the court, some of the stuff you've got to do off the court." Buckner reports during the Pacers' final road trip to L.A. this season, George "had to do his first national spot as a Gatorade spokesman, but he had no clue it would last eight hours." He also "wavered on accepting invitations" to appear on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and participating in the Slam Dunk contest. Pacers assistant coach Nate McMillan: "I said to him, 'I've never been in your shoes. I've never been an All-Star or a superstar so there's much more on your table, but you can't eat all of that. You got to pick your spots.'" Buckner noted George in March had "intimate selfies he had taken ... splashed across the Internet." George: "This is just really my first year getting my feet wet and dealing with big-time businesses. Having Papa John's on deck, Gatorade on board, Nike on board, New Era on board. So it did make me nervous and it did make me just shut down from everybody on the outside world but again, it sped up the process to where now I really watch my surroundings and watch who I'm talking to" (INDINAPOLIS STAR, 5/1).