Growing up, I didn’t have a real affinity for basketball. No one in my family played or watched; it was always on the periphery. But, for some reason, I tuned into TNT on May 24th, 2013 and witnessed game two of the Eastern Conference Finals. The day I fell in love with basketball.
The grace and swagger PG carried himself with on the court won me over and enthralled me for the better part of three hours.
The defensive rotations, court awareness, running in transition, and his calm demeanor throughout the game captivated me.
Since then, my passion for the game and the Pacers has only grown and even turned into a career. Paul George doesn’t know me, but he changed my life path forever.
Talking about and reminiscing on Paul is bittersweet for me, as it is for anyone connected to the Pacers. There hasn’t been a single more disheartening day in my time following this team than when I got the notification on my Samsung Galaxy 3 (the buggiest phone of all time) that Paul had informed the team he wouldn’t be re-signing.
It was disappointing, saddening, and frustrating at the same time. It didn’t feel quite real until the trade with Oklahoma City actually came through, and just like that, PG went quietly into that good night.
This isn’t a PG puff piece; I wish he’d handled things differently. His exit was far from graceful. There was a lot of build up and tension and it wasn’t pretty. Paul’s outright disdain of playing the four, while completely overblown, was certainly a weird chain of events and an awkward exchange.
That being said, he didn’t fleece the organization and leave the front office with their pants down in free agency. If Paul didn’t state his intent to leave, the team doesn’t make a trade that nets two standout players in return.
Booing Paul when he returns to The Fieldhouse needs to stop.
With Vic, Domas, and the restructured core achieving greater heights than the team did with PG after his injury, throwing shade at him is frankly nonsensical.
If you’re out to dinner with your girlfriend, spot your ex across the restaurant, then proceed to spend the rest of your night out flashing glares across the room and hashing out how mad you were about the end of the relationship right in front of your significant other....yeah that’s pretty weird right?
The continued booing is petty and paints the whole franchise and fan base so poorly on a national scale. Indiana is better than that. This place is so beautiful and unique in so many ways without even mentioning basketball. Basketball really does mean more in Indiana, I’ve seen that in my lifetime, but manifesting that mentality through these means muddies the image of Indy.
I get being angry. I really do. But, it’s been three years and Indiana is in a better place now than it was before with an even brighter future.
Remember what’s going great right now instead of hearkening back to what could’ve been better. It’s a disservice to the current team, what they’re doing, and what they’re working towards. Life’s too short to hold grudges or house vendettas over basketball. As Royce Da 5’9 said, “holdin’ a grudge is like lettin’ somebody just live inside of your head rent-free,” live and let live.