If there’s anyone in the USA Basketball program who has the most incentive to skip the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, it’s Paul George. The last time he played for the national team, he suffered a horrific leg injury at a scrimmage in Las Vegas that cost him most of the following season and led to much hand-wringing about the closeness of the stanchions to the court.
But The Undefeated‘s Marc Spears reports that George has been invited to Rio, and he’s accepted the offer:
Indiana Pacers guard/forward Paul George has accepted an invitation to play for USA Basketball’s 2016 Rio Olympics team, a source told The Undefeated.
George suffered a compound fracture of both bones in his lower right leg while playing in the USA Basketball Showcase scrimmage in August 2014. The injury caused the three-time NBA All-Star to miss most of the 2014-15 season. USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo promised George an Olympic roster spot after he suffered the injury, and the latter recently accepted.
It has always been a dream of George’s to compete for a gold medal for his country, a source said.
If George is really that set on playing, he’s a better man than most people. It would have been perfectly understandable if he wanted no parts of it after the injury in 2014. But he had a terrific year in 2015-16, his first full year back, and more or less got all the way back to his pre-injury All-Star form. Pacers fans are probably nervous that he wants to play, but the 2014 injury was a freak accident that could have happened playing pickup, or in an NBA game.
George clearly feels he has something to prove on the international level, and now he’s getting the opportunity to do so. Good for him.