Paul George Reportedly Spoke To LeBron James, Watched Film Of Michael Jordan And Kobe Bryant To Change His Game

Paul George spoke to NBA legends on tips for longevity.

Paul George

In a chat with John Clark on the ‘Takeoff’ podcast, legendary sportscaster Kevin Harlan revealed some of Paul George’s hidden mentors. According to Harlan, George has been looking to the careers of LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant to help guide his game as he gets older.

“He’s worked on his shot. As he’s gotten older, he has watched the guys who came before him: the late Kobe Bryant and others — how they have adjusted their game,” said Harlan. “I think he’s talked a lot to LeBron James. [LeBron] and Michael, I think he has really watched and studied how the great ones can do anything in their 20s and slacked off when they hit 30 and then in their mid-30s, have to adjust their game. I think he has really followed that path well.”

George, 34, is approaching the final stage of his career and he’ll have to adapt if he wants to avoid a sharp decline. After 14 years in the NBA, George has made 9 All-Star teams and 6 All-NBA teams. Over his stints with the Pacers, Thunder, and Clippers, he’s led his teams to various playoff runs.

This summer, George made yet another switch by striking a deal to join the Philadelphia 76ers. As he transitions to join Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, Paul George will have to take on a new role as the third option and sacrifice his stats for the sake of the team.

It’s the same thing that Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron had to do done the stretch of their careers. In the case of Jordan, he retired as a champion in 1998… before returning to join the Wizards at 38 years old. At that point, Jordan (a 6x champion) was far from the MVP he was in his prime, but he was still more than serviceable on the court with averages of 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game on 44.5% shooting. Michael stayed effective until the very end and he tweaked his game to help preserve his longevity.

The late Kobe Bryant had a much more dramatic and prolonged decline but he still managed to get the most out of his body until the day he retired. He changed his shooting form to be more energy-efficient and took more jumpers than ever to avoid contact at the rim. Bryant was a shell of himself after tearing his Achilles but through hard work and a smart gameplan, he was able to go out on his terms and drop an NBA record 60 points in his final game.

Perhaps the best example of maximizing your career is LeBron James. George didn’t just watch film on LeBron, he spoke to him personally about tips to help him stay ahead of the game. James, 39, is still an elite-level player after 21 seasons and it’s unprecedented territory for any NBA superstar.

It’s no secret that LeBron is constantly tweaking and adjusting his game, especially with his volume of jump shots, but the real secret comes in the way he takes care of his body. James spends millions of dollars and countless hours every year on treatment and workouts to maintain his strength and durability.

For George to have a similar level of success into his late 30s, he’ll need to utilize strategies from all three players to accept his new reality and adjust his game accordingly. Fortunately for George, he already has the makings of a great third option, and if he can focus on being a three-and-D star for the 76ers it could be all they need to compete for a title in the East.

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