by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad
There’s no other way to say it—Paul George is a beast. The second-year pro out of Fresno State forced his way into Indiana’s starting lineup this season and bumped his numbers 12 ppg, 6 rpg and 2 apg, banging home some of the year’s most ferocious dunks along the way. He impressed at the Dunk Contest (but got robbed) and during the regular season, helping lead the Pacers to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Two nights ago, George scored 17 points, as Indy tied its first-round Playoff series with ailing Orlando. Today, young fella turns a precocious 22 years old. And while he’ll likely do most of his celebrating on the court in Game 3 tonight, we couldn’t help but offer our special brand of “Happy Birthday.”
Because while his game is tight, his shoe game might be tighter. King George was the first ballplayer to wear Nike’s ultra-rare Electrolime Foamposites in a live game—just one of his many bold sneaker statements since entering the League. So to honor is born-on date, we present a gallery of PG’s greatest hits, kicks edition. As you’ll see above, the kid’s collection is no joke.
About a month back, SLAMonline caught up with George in New Jersey before his Pacers took on the Nets, to ask him about his budding reputation as one of the League’s sneaker superstars.
SLAM: Do you consciously think about what sneakers you want to wear each night, or just roll with what’s comfortable?
Paul George: It’s kind of both. I mean I never had kicks like that growing up, so I’m collecting almost every shoe I can and for me to really show my appreciation for the sneakers, I wear them in the games and really try to get sneakers out there.
SLAM: You were the first NBA player to wear the Electrolime Foamposites on-court. How do you balance collecting with wearing the newest sneakers on-court?
PG: When I purchase shoes, I purchase them by twos. So I have a pair that I can play in, and a pair that I can keep and collect, or if I wanted to wear them around.
SLAM: Do you have a favorite sneaker for games or do you basically just go through what’s new?
PG: Cycling through everything pretty much—whatever’s new and out there and that feels comfortable to wear and play in.
SLAM: Are you one of those guys that will only wear a pair of shoes once?
PG: Generally, if I wear a sneaker I’ll switch it up. If it’s a new shoe, I rarely play in it twice. These might get another shot, we’ll see how I play in them.
SLAM: Are you superstitious about wearing high-tops versus low-tops?
PG: I was last year, I just recently really started wearing high-tops and mid-tops. I was low tops all year last year. I just feel comfortable, I feel quick on my feet, able to move better with lows.
SLAM: So, are you trying to be one of the trendsetters in the NBA as far as sneakers?
PG: That’s definitely what I’m going for. I’ve got to have the best shoe game in the League.
SLAM: What’s your opinion on all the recent riots and craziness surrounding shoe releases, especially with Nike’s retro kicks?
PG: I think they need to make enough shoes. It’s really to a point to where you can’t have a limit on shoes. So many people are fans of those shoes, it’s going to cause problems. I guess that’s the way Jordan wants it done—I don’t agree with that part.