Oklahoma City’s All-Star small forward Paul George lives as one of the iconic stories in the modern NBA. Growing up in Palmdale, California, he only debuted in organized basketball as a freshman in high school. College scouts quickly recognized his potential. His limited development, though, kept him as a three-star recruit. Playing two years at Fresno State, George was drafted 10th in the 2010 NBA Draft. Stemming from the small town of Palmdale, the timid environment of Indianapolis fit the small forward perfectly. He matured under the lights of Bankers’ Life Fieldhouse, eventually leading the team to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances.
His ascent through the ranks of basketball has derailed soon after. George suffered a compound fracture in his lower right leg in a Team USA FIBA World Cup scrimmage, practically ending Indiana’s run in the East. He went on to play two more seasons with the Pacers, rebounding from the injury with multiple playoff appearances and a spot on the U.S. Olympic team (Rio 2016). Growing restless in Indiana, George has ultimately traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder before the 2017-18 season. Joining reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and former scoring leader Carmelo Anthony, he has remained at the top with a fifth (and third consecutive) All-Star appearance.
George represents one of the “new generation” names in the NBA. While some of the league’s faces grew up watching Michael Jordan, he grew up watching some players that are still playing today. With his youth comes an awareness of the impact of basketball. The sport has aggregated to over $80 million in on the court earnings plus additional sponsorship revenues for George. On the other hand, it has provided him the platform to begin his charity work. A spokesman for the American Heart Association and the Paul George Foundation, his impact outlives the sidelines.
Jordan may have revolutionized the Nike brand in basketball, but Kobe Bryant may be the ultimate international figure for Nike. His youth in Italy, his camps in China, and the simple fact that he speaks multiple languages has made the name “Kobe” recognized across the globe. George, who idolized Bryant in his adolescence, is trying to follow suit. The forward signed with the swoosh and has since developed his shoe. His release of the PG2 is not only anticipated in the States but overseas as well.
Part of being the new generation means a different upbringing. A revolution in video games during the 90’s and early 00 translates to today’s young adults have seen a different childhood. George’s self-proclaimed high school years consisted of school, basketball, and Sony’s PlayStation. The first two pushed him into stardom, and now the latter is coming into light. George’s PG2 takes a step back towards the iconic PlayStation 2. The shoes host the PlayStation logo and the PG initials in the same script. Casings on the sneaker depict the controller’s four signature colors. The footwear more notably features Playstation’s black and blue baseline. With Sony’s console still playing a significant role in George’s life, he felt it was time to give a little back.
Sony and Microsoft will always be in a debate surrounding console gaming. However, the Japanese entertainment mogul holds a resonating presence in casual circles. Their movies stand atop the box office, and their dedication to diversity has led to a revival over the past couple years. More than anything, George’s simple tribute reflects the years of international impact from the company. A kid from the West Coast grew up playing games, and he is doing the same as a bonified superstar traveling the globe today.
Present technology has made it easy to connect with people across the world. A message can be delivered to the other side of the globe not just with a text, but emojis and fun pictures as well. Multiple people can be on a video call at once, and audiences can view their favorite entertainment in crystal clear quality on phones, tablets, computers, etc. The groundwork was placed by many, but Sony was among the first to successfully harness its potential. Playstations were in demand all over the world by children who had no real idea of who “Sony” was. Then the release of a free PlayStation Network allowed those same kids to play with their friends locally and meet new players internationally. Lying at home on their couch children were exposed to countless cultures without knowing it.
Sony undertook new direction a couple of years ago. While entertainment mogul Disney began sweeping up the biggest franchises in the history of the world, Sony was dedicating time to diversity, inclusiveness, niche markets. The company spent decades as a leading manufacturer of technologies. When they expanded to dedicated entertainment in the early 2000s, the brand blossomed into what it is today. No longer the department store retailer it was over seventy years ago, Sony has taken hold of the influential role it has developed.
Without knowing it, the company was breeding its future spokesman. Marketers had designed the plans around selling consoles to children who would want to play with their friends. The brand was a trustworthy one after years of audio and computer manufacturing/development. With parents willing to make a move, Sony had captured a generation. The generation now has grown, now influential, and speaking to the impact that their youth has had on them. Paul George thought nothing of going home and playing video games after school. However, a successful decade later, he recognizes the impact those many hours had on him and everyone he knew.
The limited edition PG2 will come available on February 10th, 2018 for an expected price of $110. Supplies will expectedly not last long, helping further the anticipation of its release. In addition to the tribute, the design is an overhauled shoe. The PG has returned to a classic tongue design and eliminated the strap on the outside of the sneaker. New traction design will improve grip on the floor, making the shoe a more comfortable and more practical option for those who are not just collectors, but players.