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Monday, November 25th, 2013 at 12:14 pm  |  37 responses

SLAM 174 is On Sale Now!

If you don’t know Paul George, now you know.

by Tzvi Twersky | portraits Tom Medvedich

Twenty-some years before we knew how good he would be, 18 or so years before even he knew how good he’d be, the maternal side of Paul George’s family sensed something was different about Baby George while he was still in a bassinet.

Paulette George knew that her youngest child would be special from the moment she laid eyes on him on May 2, 1990. Actually, that’s not accurate. She merely saw a physical anomaly; it was her mother and grandmother who foretold of future greatness from Paulette’s only son.

“Paul has a little pinhole on the right side of his ear,” Paulette says in a soft, sweet voice over the phone. “When he was born I said, ‘Why is that hole there?’”

Medically speaking, the hole, almost an ear piercing in appearance, was nothing to worry about. Spiritually speaking, according to Paulette’s family, it was actually something to rejoice over.

“My grandmother, she’s passed away some years now, always used to say, ‘That baby’s going to be special,’” says Paulette. “I was like, ‘Really?’ She said, ‘Yeah. When kids have pinholes in their ears that means they’re gonna be special.’”

Whether you love or leave that legend, Paul George, who at 23 is still a baby in NBA years, definitely doesn’t have many holes in his basketball game.

Thirteen games into his fourth NBA season, the thin but well-rounded player is averaging 24.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.8 spg and the Indiana Pacers are 12-1.

“Paul’s mentality is what makes him so good,” says Pacers rookie Solomon Hill. “His mentality that he wants to be the best two-way player. It’s that he’s not just about scoring; he wants to get stops as well. When you have guy like that, it really shows you the bigger picture. It’s not about trying to put up as many points as you can; it’s about being efficient on the offensive end and stopping your player. That’s something that’s really different about him.”

Another difference, and this might be the most impressive feat, is that the All-Star was able to fly under the radar for most of his life.

The pride of Palmdale, CA, didn’t play big-time AAU ball until the summer after his junior year of high school and didn’t star on his high school team until he was a senior. Due in part to the lack of scouting reports on him, George attended Fresno State, hardly a hub for basketball. While there, he played two solid if not spectacular seasons, and ultimately ended up going 10th in the 2010 NBA Draft. Even then, though, not many knew who George was and even fewer expected this.

(For more on his background and personal story, be sure to read the actual cover story in SLAM 174.)

It’s 2013, and George is now on the cover of SLAM. He’s now a legit MVP candidate. He’s now the face of the first-place team in the east. And he’s still not satisfied.

“This is definitely where I want to be, but it’s not where I want to end at,” says George. He partook in a photo shoot and spoke with us at-length for this cover. “I want to be MVP. I want to be Defensive Player of the Year. I want to be First-Team All-NBA. I want to be a Gold medalist. I want to be a hall of famer. I want to be a Champion. Everything that’s the highest or the greatest that you can do, I want to do that.”

George isn’t the only story in this issue, obviously. There are thorough features on up-and-comers Anthony Davis and Eric Bledsoe, an awesome report about basketball in Cuba, an old school on Bobby Hurley and plenty of the always-tight high school and college coverage.

You can read all of this in this George-covered issue of SLAM. Speaking of which, you probably won’t see this issue of SLAM in your mailbox or at newsstands for another week or so. We just wanted to let the issue pop before Thanksgiving.

After all, everyone’s been so late on George we figured he was due for some early, extra shine.

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  • JML-G

    another well deserved cover (and first one for the player aswell)! my wish list got BK Nets and Harden for covers too, but that seems like a looooong shot atm

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    So proud of this.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Uhhh, Harden is definitely due one soon assuming he comes back ok. Brooklyn Nets have a LOT of work to do.

  • smith stopped, smith blocked.

    ben, you ‘ve been working for slam for a while. it is the first pacer cover since reggie, right ? (metta wore a t-shirt )

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Close, but we had Jermaine O’Neal on SLAM 76.

  • spit hot fiyah

    face looks very photo shopped

  • LakeShow

    PG!

  • Najee Fareed

    brooklyn needing work is an understatement, cuz their playing lik decrepit and senile trash

  • Peter Walsh

    Paul George x Anthony Davis x Eric Bledsoe? Nailed it!!

  • Harvey

    We need a Spurs cover Ben!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    They were in the conversation for sure

  • logues

    I am extremely pleased with the last 2 covers. now if you can get lamarcus Aldridge, james harden, kevin love, and the spurs a cover, i’ll be one happy basketball fan

  • Chubachuchi

    Becoming one of my favorite players. On a side note is it me or are his hands too little for a guy his size?

  • havoc33

    Awesome cover, and well deserved. Love this guy’s game. That 2nd photo from the shoot is not very good though.

  • JML-G

    ah yea – Lamarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard should get a cover too.. i mean, if Telfair got one while bein a Blazer, these two should have one asap. too bad Brandon Roy never got one….

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  • Yessir

    True say, Brandon Roy definitely deserved one circa 2009..

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  • Karan Man Hussain

    When will this issue be available on iPad?

  • Brian Mckinley

    is this issue already out in stores? ive looked at a walmart for it didnt see it im a real big fan of george

  • Brian Mckinley

    i would love to have this issue

  • yu

    born ready pg and hibbey need a cover like the clippers with brand miles and odom

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  • Joel

    Good

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  • Dylan Evans

    Hey man, who do you have in idea for the next couple of months slam covers?

  • emmalynnnil321

    My Uncle Brayden recently got a
    stunning white Infiniti G Convertible IPL from only workin part-time on a pc at
    home. you can look here J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    of course

  • http://triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Hey Ben I was wondering are we going to check in on S. Nash? Poor guy has dropped off the planet? Surely he has to be thinking about his next stage? I would love his insight as to a player facing the age/injury spotlight.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Super fair question. We have been working on getting a proper sitdown with him since the summer. Our man Duane Watson in Canada is on the case as far as I know. I don’t know how to “@” him in here but I know he wants to get it done.

  • Volcanalis

    When are the Blazers going to get some love? They haven’t had a cover in a long time and the way they’re playing this season I’d think LaMarcus Aldridge and/or Damian Lillard deserve a cover.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Patience, my friend

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