Among the stories surrounding the Pacers today is a great piece by Foxsports.com's Bill Reiter, which focuses on the tight bond between Paul George and Danny Granger. There have been plenty of feel-good Pacers stories this year, but this one goes to another level as Reiter spent some quality time with Granger and George while they enjoyed their off night in Indy last night.
One revelation from the story is that Granger is not just willing to pass the mantle of franchise leader to his younger teammates, but that he's been preparing George and himself for this time in their careers since encouraging Larry Bird to draft George three years ago.
"We had gone through the draft and we were working out together," Granger said. "It was the day of draft day, and - we have the same agent - I'd been working out with him for about a month. So I got about five calls from Larry Bird. Larry Bird never calls me. And he's like, ‘Danny, I need you to call me back. Danny, I need you to call me back.'
"Finally, I call him back, and he's like, ‘Ah, what do you think of this kid Paul George?'
"I've been working out with Paul."
"He's like, ‘Yeah, tell me what you think.'''
Granger stops the story to laugh, loudly, and as he does he looks again at George, and George, almost embarrassed, looks down and laughs, too. He obviously has heard this story before, and the moment seems as far from Kobe-Dwight as you can possibly get in the NBA.
"I say, ‘You better take him.' That's what I'm saying. ‘Dude, you gotta take him.'
"Is he good?" Bird asked.
"Dude. He's really, really good."
"All right, that's all I wanted to hear," Bird said. "Bye."
"And that was it," Granger says. "And later that night we selected him."
So yeah, Granger gave the green light to his replacement before he needed a replacement and suddenly the timing is creating a seamless transition between he and PG. Make sure you read the whole warm and fuzzy story which leaves the only concerns about Granger's return based on his health.
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