Paul George's decision to rejoin Team USA was supposed to be about winning gold, not reliving what happened to his tibia and fibula back in 2014 when he crashed into a goal stanchion. A commanding, 116-62, win over China brought the two-way star one step closer to the former goal, while an eerily similar and equally gruesome injury sustained by French gymnast Samir Ait Said on the vault quickly made attaining the latter objective decidedly more difficult.
"I'm just enjoying it, man," George told ESPN's Dave McMenamin during Team USA's exhibition schedule. "I'm just enjoying it. This trip is not about the injury. That's behind me. It happened. I'm over it. It's about preparing for a gold medal."
Had George opted to maintain his laser-like focus by keeping the past in the past it would have been understandable. Instead, the three-time All-Star decided to look outward, rather than inward, by offering Ait Said his support as a fellow Olympian.
"I feel for you brother.. You'll be in my prayers! You'll come back stronger from this trust me I know! #GodBlessSamir" George wrote on Twitter. "I'm here with you and for you bro!"
@samiraitsaid1 I'm here with you and for you bro!— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) August 7, 2016
Shaun Livingston of the Golden State Warriors and former Louisville Cardinals guard Kevin Ware offered similar words of encouragement and reassurance to George following his own leg injury. Now, Team USA's sixth man has paid their inspiration forward on the world's biggest stage.