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George ‘very happy’ Bird’s back with Pacers
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On July 4, 2013 @ 11:25 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Michael Pointer, USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George is keeping a close eye on what his team is doing during the NBA free agency period from thousands of miles away.
George has been in China since last Thursday as part of the NBA’s Nation Tour. He has visited the cities of Shanghai and Wuhan, conducting clinics and signing autographs with other NBA players. George said it is the second time he has visited China, also taking a trip there as part of a Nike contingent last summer.
News travels fast in 2013, even to the other side of the globe. USA TODAY Sports checked in with George on Wednesday morning (Wednesday night in China) via phone to talk about the trip, his take on the recent happenings with the Pacers and if the sting of losing to the eventual champion Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals remains.
Q. So what are you doing in China?
A. The purpose is to go out and help grow the game of basketball and continue to build our brand. Basketball is so huge here. People love it and are big fans. It’s nice to give back.
Q. The NBA has had a big presence in China since Yao Ming came into the league; describe how you’re being treated over there?
A. With Yao being sort of the face of our league here, there’s a lot of appreciation for us. The people over here just really appreciate what we do. In a way, it’s kind of surreal.
Q. What do you mean by that?
A. The treatment we get over here is amazing. We kind of get that respect in the U.S, but here, it is just so genuine. The people are so happy we’re here. It’s a different feeling.
Q. What was your reaction when you heard David West was planning to re-sign with the team?
A. I love that we were able to get David back. David’s been the reason why we’ve been successful. He’s our leader. He’s our backbone. He’s our tough man. It definitely would have been a step back if David had not come back. He’s kind of created an identity … [For more on Paul George 'very happy' Larry Bird's back with Pacers, click here.]
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