Clippers news: Paul George pens essay detailing his journey to LA as he's set to make debut
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Paul George pens essay detailing his journey to Clippers as he’s set to make debut

Paul George, Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers All-Star Paul George penned an essay for The Players’ Tribune, chronicling his journey to the franchise as he makes his debut for the team on Thursday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Southern California native has been recovering from a pair of shoulder surgeries, and now he’s recovered enough to play.

As part of his essay, George noted that he thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Pacers and Thunder. However, the 29-year-old swingman is clearly thrilled to be playing for his hometown team:

“That whole journey from Pump-N-Run to Fresno State to getting DNPs my rookie year, to Most Improved Player, to NBA All-Star in Indiana, to OKC … Man, let me just pause here to say that I genuinely, genuinely loved playing for those fans in Oklahoma City,” George wrote in his essay for The Players’ Tribune. “Y’all were just so great to me, from the first time I stepped off that plane, literally. And I had a special bond with (Russell Westbrook) that is really rare in this league. I loved my experience in OKC.

“This journey back to the (213) is incredible to me in retrospect, because when I left home for college 10 years ago, I don’t think anybody in my family expected all this to happen,” George added. “My mom and dad, the first time they started getting calls from agents and seeing my name on draft boards, I’m not lying when I say it was like their minds were blown. They used to drive three-plus hours from Palmdale to Fresno to see me play for every single home game. It was seven hours in the car, round trip on a Tuesday, just to see me in person.”

George, who was traded to the Clippers this offseason, hails from Palmdale, California. He isn’t from the downtown area (the 213), but he always had dreams of playing under the bright lights inside Staples Center:

“Look, I didn’t grow up in that L.A. I’m from the other L.A.,” George wrote. “I’m from the (661) and I’m proud of it. But I used to be out in the desert, running around with my big sack of rocks, dreaming about getting on somebody’s radar, dreaming about getting on the other side of that mountain, dreaming about playing at Staples, dreaming about those bright lights.”

George is one of the best players in today’s NBA, and his pairing with Kawhi Leonard already has experts viewing the Clippers as a top contender. Through their first 11 games with George on the sidelines recovering, LA has recorded a 7-4 record. The Clippers are 7-2 with Leonard in the lineup, though the reigning NBA Finals MVP won’t be playing in George’s debut on Thursday because of knee injury management.

LA will return home on Saturday to host the Atlanta Hawks. It will be George’s first opportunity to start for the Clippers inside Staples Center. Expect a rousing ovation from the crowd as he begins his quest to “bring a ring to the 213.”