An Open Letter To Paul George

The last time we spoke to Paul George, it did not end well. Maybe he’s changed, maybe we’ve grown. Whatever it is, perhaps it’s time we got back together.

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Dear Paul,

Did you see that?

Did you see what your old team did to the Cavs last Sunday afternoon? They went medieval on the King right in his own court. It was mean and it was nasty. They were faster, younger, and just straight-up better than the Cavaliers. LeBron got the typical red carpet treatment from the officials, but it didn’t matter. So he whined, flopped, and feigned injury before finally storming off like an oversized Joffrey Baratheon. If anyone looked like royalty in Cleveland on Sunday, it was the Pacers. I know it’s probably too soon, but screw it: They looked like contenders.

And it got me thinking. This is going to sound crazy—and it could just be the post-win serotonin talking—but I’m going to say it anyway. What if we patched things up, us and you? What if we, you know, got back together?

Shhhhh. Don’t answer. Just listen.

I know things didn’t end well with us. Things were said. But time heals all, right? Be honest. You’ve thought about it. During the all-star break you said yourself if you could pick one other All-Star to play with, it would be Victor Oladipo. You said, and I quote, “He’s a really, really, really, really, really good player.”

Victor Oladipo celebrates with Lance Stephenson following a Pacers victory.

Were you being snide? Catty? Normally, I’d say “Yes.” But right now I’m in the mood to assume the best in you, Paul. Because, holy crap, we could be so good together.

Not to sound all stalkerish, but I’ve been watching you. You look good, man. Your jump shot is still margarine-smooth. Your defense, when dialed in, is exquisite. Your performance against Utah the other day? It was vintage Playoff P (cute nickname, by the way). But I’ve also noticed how Russell Westbrook eats into your game. I’ve seen how he hogs the ball, and the glory, with his pathological obsession with stats. There’s a reason Durant, Harden, and Oladipo all went on to accomplish more elsewhere.

Let’s be real. You’re not staying tethered to Westbrook in OKC. That’s not you.

So let’s talk about the Lakers. Look, I get it. You grew up in the area. You idolize Kobe. And it’s L.A.! But the reality is that the Lakers are one Ball brother away from becoming a Bravo TV show. LeBron will join you in L.A.? A super team, you say? Man, LeBron is 33 going on 40. He was drafted in 2003. Chingy had at Top 10 hit in 2003. Chingy! Other players drafted in 2003 include Chris Bosh (retired), Dwyane Wade (washed up), and Carmelo Anthony (no comment necessary).

Pundits complain that the Cavs haven’t built a good team around LeBron. But they did! Kyrie Irving is a great player. But after a couple of years of being bossed around by LeBron, he bolted for greener pastures.

And have you seen Kevin Love lately? The blank eyes? The lifeless gait? The tenebrous mist that now occupies the space where his soul used to be? That’s the LeBron Effect.

I don’t expect you to ever love Indiana. It’s ordinary. It’s landlocked. The weather sucks for at least 6 months out of the year here. But we don’t need you to love us, Paul. Not anymore, not when Victor Oladipo is penning breathless love letters to us in The Players’ Tribune.

Victor Oladipo

Jed Jacobsohn/The Players' Tribune

The fact is, we need you less than we ever did. And paradoxically, that’s why a reunion makes so much sense. When you were here, we asked too much of you. We asked you to be a transcendentally great superstar. We asked you to be a leader of men. We asked you to embrace Indiana. But we knew deep down that none of these were reasonable requests.

And now? Now all we need is a merely terrestrially great superstar to hang in Indy for eight months out of the year and help Victor Oladipo lead the Indiana Pacers to its first NBA championship.

So what do you think? Wait. Don’t answer. Just think about. We’re going to be busy for the next few weeks anyway. Let’s catch up in June, OK?

Oh, and one more thing: Apology accepted.

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