Along with the highs of signing a max contract and being named a starter at the 63rd Annual All-Star game, Paul George has experienced more than his fair share of low points this season. His home on Geist was robbed, and in what seems to occur with every other day regularity, he finds himself on the defensive having to combat vicious rumors and shoot-down rampant gossip. An Indianapolis Craigslist user posted a satirical advertisement searching for what was termed "the talent for short-lived NBA superstar Paul George." Despite averaging 21.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.3 steals in the playoffs, at least once per nationalized telecast, viewers will hear about his supposed struggles and how he once was considered an MVP candidate.
Perhaps in ad nauseum, it has been relayed by the media that fishing has been cathartic for Paul George and the Pacers this postseason. The water has served as his fortress of solitude. Alone, or perhaps with a few teammates, there are no reporters, no gossip sites, no speculation, and no criticism - only tranquil mind-clearing silence or quiet conversation revolving around things other than basketball.
Externally, goin' fishin' has clearly been an effective means for PG to recharge his batteries, but, internally, he only has to think of the strength of his mother and her will to fight to find motivation.
Fittingly, as Mother's Day fast approaches, the Pacers' star sat down with Fox Sports 1's Colleen Dominguez to discuss exactly what his mother, Paulette, means to him:
As a 10 year old boy, Paul watched his mother suffer a stroke triggered by two blood clots that rendered her bedridden and paralyzed her left side. To this day, he tells Huff Post Healthy Living, "I remember every moment of it. I was always there on hospital visits, right by her bed. When she got a hospital bed in our room, I would lay in my bed right next to her. I was there. I saw all of it."
Experiencing every moment of Paulette's battle first hand, the memories of his mother's perseverance and the hurdles she was able to overcome in the midst of grave hardship continue to inspire him to push through whatever trials may come his way during his professional basketball career, explaining to Huff Post Healthy Living:
"I've always been underrated, and that always drove me to stay in the gym, to work hard and to continue to push myself the same way my mom had to fight through her adversity," he said. "Whenever I feel like I've had a bad day, I think about my mom and it just strengthens me. I've got to keep going hard for my momma."
As a once self-proclaimed "mama's boy," Paul George, in addition to photo shoots with GQ, guest appearances on Jimmy Kimmel, ad spots with Papa John's, and commercials for Gatorade, will use his fast growing notoriety, according to Huff Post Healthy Living, as a platform to fulfill one of Paulette's dreams this Mother's Day:
"She always tells me that she would love to do something big, and I want to make it happen. Telling her testimony of what she's been through is really her passion. I feel like she was put in a position to be able to use her voice, and I want to be an extension of her voice to really get that out there."
Paulette's story will be told to a national audience when the remainder of PG's interview with Colleen Dominguez airs Sunday at 11p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. From there, Paul and his mother will later be featured in a public service announcement for the American Stroke Association produced by the Ad Council.
Even for the common observer, it is easy to see that Paul George is driven to achieve his goals. It is the reason Frank Vogel, in an interview over All-Star weekend on "Mike and Mike in the morning," said with regard to his star's development, "Each year you expect him to get a little better and he gets a lot better. It's a credit to his hard work, his internal drive, and his hunger." It is the reason he won the league's Most Improved Player award, and it is likely the reason why his twitter profile boldly states, "Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon."
Yes, with Paul, his desire to improve has always been obvious, but perhaps the full picture of the impetus behind it has not been entirely uncovered before now:
"I've got to keep working hard for my momma," said George.
On Sunday (Mother's Day), the Palmdale product will strive to lead the Pacers to a 3-1 series lead over the Washington Wizards with his team still being doubted, if he is successful, he likely, as it has become his routine, will give a shout-out to his parents during an on camera post-game interview, exclaiming, "Hi Dad, Hi Mom!"
Maybe it is in jest, or maybe, at a deeper level, the shout-out is out of respect and pure exuberance for the people that not only raised him, but helped motivate him. While dealing with rumors, gossip, and his team's on-court struggles, he only needs to remember his mother's battle and it "just strengthens" him.
Like Paulette told Huff Post Healthy Living, "The harder you work, the better it gets. The happiest part of all is that we're always together as a family - and that I'm still here and blessed to enjoy all that."