Paul George visits with Sage Steele at All-Star Weekend, says he’s still getting used to being the vocal guy

ESPN’s Sage Steele interviews Paul George at All-Star Weekend 2017 in New Orleans.

Paul George is down in New Orleans for his fourth NBA All-Star appearance. Friday is media day, which for George meant answering questions for reporters, and then doing numerous interviews with partners of the league — including ESPN.

With ESPN broadcasting live from the conference room, George joined Sage Steele, a proud Indiana University graduate, for a discussion on the Indiana Pacers’ season and how he’s handling it.

But first, George shared that he brought his daughter, Olivia, with him this weekend. She turns three on May 1.

What Steele hit on with George:

  • What has contributed to the Pacers’ six-game losing streak
  • What he’s doing to try to steer the team back in the right direction
  • The transition from coach Frank Vogel to Nate McMillan
  • On whether he plans to stay in Indiana (he’s under contract through 2018)
  • How he doesn’t concern himself with trade rumors
  • How close he came last year to the All-Star scoring record

The comments that jumped out to me were in regards to George being thrusted into a leadership position. That’s all new to him, and quite frankly, not a position he’s comfortable in. But he’s trying.

“Doing everything I possibly can each night and just taking the load of being the leader, trying to get everybody on the same page night in and night out,” George said of his individual efforts to get the train back on the tracks.

“It’s been a task, it’s been rough. I haven’t always been the vocal guy. I didn’t have to in my previous years with the Pacers. But now I have to do it on the court and I have to do it both physically and verbally.

“And that’s been different for me. That’s been different for me. I tend to be to myself sometimes and comfortable with that as long as everybody comes ready to play. Now I have to make sure everybody is ready to play.

“I’ve never been like a confrontational person. I don’t mind if I have to, but that’s never been my role and I’ve never been comfortable with confrontation. I’ve kind of been the person that ‘Let’s let it play out and see where that goes.’ So it’s different, having to confront people and having to be vocal and being on guys cases because you just never know — some people take things differently.”

[VIDEO: Paul George on the state of the team]

Steele pressed on and asked George the question you know he doesn’t want to answer: Are you staying in Indiana? (Note: He’s under contract through the 2017-18 season, with a player option for the following year.)

“I would like to,” George said. “I think the biggest thing is wanting to win a championship and be the first to win a championship and bring that to Indiana. They have some of the greatest fans and we have one of the best fan bases, just their love of basketball is so different than in any other state that I want to give them that.”

That’s nothing new. He wants to win and that will be one of the biggest factors in his decision whether to sign a contract extension or not with the team. He’s already shown that he can build a successful brand in Indiana, with PG1, his new signature shoe, being the cover man of NBA2K, and more.

Watch the full interview below:

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