Paul George may be one of the most heralded stars in the NBA presently but he didn’t come about that reputation easily. After being drafted 10the overall into the league in 2010, he initially posted average stats but was able to remedy that in subsequent seasons. This fetched him the accolade of the most improved player in the league in 2013 and many thought that it would be smooth-sailing from thereon. The Fresno State alum however suffered a serious injury and had to miss nearly the entire 2013/2014 season.
Many a player would have succumbed to defeat at this point but not George. He focused on his rehab and made his comeback in a sensational manner which saw him help his team make it to the playoffs as well as win a gold medal with the U.S. national team at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio. Since then, it has been an upward trajectory for the player and he has established himself as a potent attack and defensive threat thus receiving several career honors to that effect.
He led the Indiana Pacers to Six Consecutive Playoff Appearances during the Seven Years He Spent There
California native, Paul George, played two years of college basketball with the Fresno State Bulldogs before declaring himself ready for the pros. He entered into the NBA draft of 2010 and was eventually selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 10th overall pick. The deal he signed on the 1st of July, 2010, was guaranteed for two years and was worth $3.9 million with the open possibilities of a third and fourth-year contract. This marked the beginning of his professional career as a basketball player.
George made his NBA debut on the 27th of October, 2010 when the Indiana Pacers played against the San Antonio Spurs. He scored just four points in that game but by the end of the rookie season, he had gathered an average of 7.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists, and started 19 out of a total of 61 games he played in. All this prompted his inclusion in the NBA All-Rookie second team for that season.
George put in more effort and improved his stats in his second season with the Pacers; garnering an average of 12.1 points, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 5.6 rebounds. He would continue in like manner for the next five years that he would stay with the franchise. Overall, Paul George spent a total of seven years with the Indiana Pacers during which he averaged 18.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.65 steals across 448 games (400 starts). He led the team to the playoffs for six consecutive years (2011-2016). The only season that they missed out on that feat was his rookie season with them.
Given such stats, it was obvious that the relationship between the Pacers and George was a mutually beneficial one. Many therefore expected it to last forever but it turned out not to be so. Both parties decided that seven years was enough and George requested to be traded to the L.A. Lakers so he could be closer to home. The Pacers however turned down his request and instead traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for two players, shooting guard – Victor Oladipo and forward – Domantas Sabonis.
His Desire to be Closer to Home Made him quit the Oklahoma City Thunder for L.A. Clippers
George made his debut for Oklahoma City Thunder in a game against the New York Knicks on the 19th day of October 2017. He scored an impressive 28 points, as his team emerged victorious, and went on to better it with 42 points in their next game against the L.A. Clippers. This set the tone for the remainder of George’s season and he averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists as he took his team to the playoffs.
They subsequently offered him a new contract the next year and he agreed to it. This move shocked many as the player had always made it clear that he wished to return home to California and play for a team based there. George then explained that even though he was tempted to discuss with California-based teams, he loved his present situation with Thunder and would like to stick around a little longer.
Paul George would stick around in Oklahoma for exactly just one year during which he averaged a career-best of 28 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He then decided that he couldn’t resist the inner yearning to return home any longer and so forced a trade to the L.A. Clippers in July 2019. Thunder received two Clippers players in return as well as multiple drafts picks and rights.
Six-Time NBA All-Star, Olympic Gold Medal, and Other Accolades that Paul George Has Received
Since Paul George signed with the Clippers, it has turned out to be a magnificent homecoming. The Palmdale native had an astonishing first season with the side during which he tallied 21.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. This stats earned him multiple honors including NBA All-Star, All-NBA First Team, NBA All-Defensive First Team as well as NBA steals leader for the year 2019.
These accolades add to others that the player already has in his kitty. George has earlier received NBA All-Star selection on five previous occasions; namely 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018. He had also been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team (2014), NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2013 and 2016), as well as the All NBA Third Team (2013, 2014, 2016, and 2018).
The small forward is also the recipient of one Olympic gold medal. He was part of the elite squad that represented the United States of America in the basketball event at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He and his teammates triumphed over countries such as Argentina, Spain, and Serbia to ultimately emerge winners.
Paul George $136.9 Million Contract Makes Him One of the Highest-Paid Players in the NBA
As a rookie player in the year 2010, Paul George received a two-year contract from the Pacers which paid him a total of $4.6 million. He subsequently received a one-off payment of $3.28 million for the 2012 season before signing a mega-contract with the franchise in 2013. The deal was scheduled to last for five years and paid him a total of $91.57 million.
By the time this contract expired, Paul George was now plying his trade with Oklahoma City Thunder and doing quite well at that. The side, therefore, had no hesitations about giving him a four-year contract worth $136.9 million in July 2018. That contract remains running but is now being serviced by the player’s present employers, the L.A. Clippers, who pay him not less than $33 million each season.
— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) July 30, 2020
Paul George now has a net worth estimated at $40 million. This comes from his salaries, which tallied at $144,467 million in 2020, as well as endorsements deals with the likes of Nike, YouTube, AT&T, 2K sports, Gatorade. Going by Forbes estimates, the player pulls in about $8 million from endorsements each year.
The NBA Star and his Girlfriend were once involved in a Disputed Paternity Suit
As of this writing, the basketball star is in a long-term relationship with a woman named Daniela Rajic. Rajic has Serbian origins but is an American by nationality. She was born in Queens, New York in November 1990. She is an alum of the University of Miami, Florida.
George and Rajic first met during the time she was working as a stripper, both commenced a relationship in 2013. They broke up shortly after and Daniela filed a lawsuit alleging that she was pregnant with NBA star’s child and that he had asked her to get an abortion. George denied these allegations as well as paternity but a DNA test later confirmed that he was indeed the father of Daniela’s daughter, Olivia, born in May 2014.
The NBA star initially sought to get sole custody of his daughter but the courts refused. He, therefore, had to make peace with his baby mama for the best interest of their daughter. That peace has led the couple to rekindle their romance and they now have a second daughter named Natasha (b. 2017). The couple remains together to date and has grown strong despite the fact that their romance commenced on an unsavory note.