Paul George to Become "Young Trece"
Reggie Miller was almost neurotically superstitious, full of thoughts and habits to ward off bad luck.
Paul George? Not so much.
The likeliest successor to Miller's status as a Pacers legend, George will flaunt superstition and wear jersey No. 13 when he returns from his broken leg. The NBA has been notified and he has cleared out the stock of No. 24 apparel from the Pacers gift shop to donate to the youth of his hometown, Palmdale, Calif.
Miller, of course, wore No. 31. If popular superstition considers 13 to be an unlucky number, he figured the opposite number, 31, would bring good luck. It worked for him, as he played 18 seasons for the Pacers with minimal injury issues on his way to induction in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
“I'll wear 13 to be the opposite of Reggie,” George said jokingly when he met with the media at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday.
Actually, George thought about changing from 24 to 13 when he entered the NBA in 2010, but decided to hold off. The move was delayed by the arrival in 2012 of rookie Miles Plumlee, who also wore the number, but it became available again after Plumlee was traded last year.
George now kiddingly refers to himself as Young Trece, the Spanish word for thirteen.
“I was just superstitious about changing my number, being with 24 for as long as I can remember,” he said. “It's always been one of my favorite numbers, and being a big Kobe (Bryant) fan growing up had a little to do with it. Two years ago I applied to change my number, then we had some bonehead kid (Plumlee) come in and take 13,” he added, laughing.
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“Then when I had the opportunity to do so again, we jumped on it. The whole thing behind PG-13 is about coming into my own. I feel I'm at that stage where I'm ready to embrace everything that comes with being one of the young stars in this league. The whole thing is being able to enjoy the show and being fun to watch.”
George bought up the stock of No. 24 apparel from the Pacers gift shop, which he estimated at 600-700 jerseys, T-shirts and other items, and donated them to the students at his alma mater, Knight High School, and the Boys and Girls Club in Palmdale.
— Paul George (@Paul_George24) August 13, 2014
“I've stayed connected with my teachers and my coach and even go back and play little games with the high school kids there,” George said. “I'm big on my community and want to stay that way.”
George will become the seventh Pacer to wear No. 13, following in chronological order:
- Donnie Freeman, a starting guard on the 1973 ABA championship team.
- Ron Carter, who played 13 games in 1979-80.
- Mark Jackson, who played six seasons with the Pacers and was a member of the 2000 NBA Finals team.
- Kenny Anderson, who played 44 games in 2003-04.
- David Harrison, who played four seasons from 2004-08.
- Miles Plumlee, who played 14 games in 2012-13.
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