Paul George recently alluded to the possibility of him writing a tell-all book. What revelations would such a work contain? We have some ideas.
On Monday night, Paul George returned to Indianapolis, where he spent the first seven years of his career as a member of the Pacers. Even though he has not been a Pacer in over two years, being traded to the Thunder in the summer of 2017, he was still booed by Indiana fans each time he touched the ball.
While George was unsurprised by the booing, calling it a “Hoosier thing,” he did offer an odd rejoinder to the crowd’s jeers. After the game, he said, “You know, someday I’ll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana… and I promise you, I’m not the one to boo.”
While this book is unfortunately not likely to ever actually appear, let alone anytime in the near future, we here at The Step Back are happy to speculate about what we think might be in the book based on what we know about George and his former Pacers teammates.
Coach Vogel could not stop eating bagels and lox: Before every game, and at halftime, and also after the game, then-Pacers coach Frank Vogel was well-known for his love for the traditional delicacy of bagels and lox. It started out as a quest to get more fish oil in his diet but soon became an all-out obsession as it grew to be his favorite food.
Players were initially amused by this development but then grew a bit more disgusted as he began to put lots of capers and chopped onions on the bagel as well, causing his breath to be quite noxious as he drew up plays during time outs. It’s unknown if he has carried this habit over to Los Angeles.
It’s true that Paul George was not the one who booed; George Hill was: As a team-building exercise, the Pacers would often watch Survivor together. It initially began as a bit of an ironic thing, but everyone bought in and became sincerely invested in the fates of these castaways and their quest to win a million dollars.
No one was more into it than native Hoosier George Hill, who would often hoot, jeer, and boo at the television when a contestant he did not like won a challenge, when a contestant he did like was voted off, or when host Jeff Probst acted in a way Hill found unbecoming. “He’s just so smug,” Hill reportedly said night after night.
Roy Hibbert would not shut up about Animal Farm: Just after midnight, on June 4, 2014, Roy Hibbert tweeted a “Shout to George Orwell for writing ‘Animal Farm’,” calling it “One of the dopest books” he had ever read. HIbbert was particularly in awe of Orwell’s imagination as the book contains “pigs walking up right windmills n more!”
Hibbert was less interested in the book’s political commentary than in the fantastical world it imagined, a world where animals have their own system of government! Can you imagine! For the entirety of the next season, he was always recommending it to his teammates, at least until David West lost his temper and fired back, “Yeah Roy! We all read it in high school, we get it.” That chastened Hibbert a bit.
Later that season, Hibbert tried reading Richard Adams’ Watership Down hoping to find a similar joy in this book about bunnies and their own distinctive culture, but it just didn’t hit him in quite the same way.
Monta Ellis got really into roller skating for a spell: Monta Ellis signed with the Pacers in the summer of 2015 and that same offseason, he caught the second half of Drew Barrymore’s 2009 directorial debut, Whip It on cable. Whip It stars Ellen Page as a young woman who gets drawn into the wide world of roller derby, finding herself a new home and a sense of joy in the sport.
Ellis, reasonably wary of seeking more dangerous thrills after his infamous moped accident, began roller skating all the time instead. While this was not a problem on its own, he would occasionally do it at inappropriate times in inappropriate places. At least seven times, he tried to practice in skates, hoping to “channel the spirit of Babe Ruthless” much to the annoyance of his teammates and coaches. The Pacers’ practice courts remain scuffed to this day.
The real reason Paul George left Indiana: Many have been confused as to just why Paul George wanted out of Indiana. Yes, his desire to return to his native Southern California is well known, but the Pacers were consistently successful during his time there, making the playoffs every year except one during his time there, including two trips to the Conference Finals. Wasn’t team success enough to make up for Indiana’s cold winters?
But there was something that bothered him during his tenure with the Pacers that he’s not really spoken about: none of his teammates liked to fish.
Paul George is a fishing fanatic, even hosting his own annual celebrity fishing tournament. However, none of his Pacers teammates really bought in and it weighed on him. “If they don’t care about me as a fisherman, how can they care about me as a man?” he was often heard to ask of no one in particular.