Paul George is about to hear some big-time jeers. According to a June 19 article by Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic, the Los Angeles Clippers star is the “most hated” NBA player in the state of Arizona. Citing a poll taken by Bet Online that utilized geotagged Twitter data to form its conclusions, George was selected as the most disliked NBA player in the state, which suggests PG could be in for some R-rated sound bytes very soon.
After knocking the top-seeded Utah Jazz out of the playoffs in six games, the suddenly white-hot Clippers will be led by George when they head to Phoenix to face the Suns in the Western Conference Finals.
The Clips managed to close the series against the Jazz out minus superstar Kawhi Leonard, who will miss at least the first game — and likely more — against the Suns. Thus, L.A. will be leaning heavily on George, who will could be hearing a barrage of insults from the crowd whenever he’s got the ball in his hands.
Why the Hate for PG?
Perhaps it all began when George and Suns guard Devin Booker got into it early in the year in the fourth quarter of the Clips ‘ 112-107 win over Phoenix on January 3. The two received technical fouls after jawing back and forth, and when Cameron Payne of the Suns landed on top of PG after attempting to block his shot later in the game, the verbal sparring continued:
Suns superstar Chris Paul also got involved, and after the game, George was asked about what happened along with what was said.
“Like I said, I’ve never had any words, talking. Never any altercations. It’s always peace when I’m on the floor, but for whatever reason, it’s a lot of chirping. People just living in the past. Last year was last year,” George said in early January.
“I don’t talk, I play my game,” George added. “For whatever reasons, dudes talking. Never heard people talking. It’s never been directed towards me, but for some reason, it’s been a lot of mouth.”
“It was nothing, honestly. It was nothing,” Booker said when he was asked about the incident with George post-game.
It may be nothing to Booker, but clearly, George has offended Suns fans on some level.
Will the Chirping Between George & Suns Players Continue?
The January 3 game wasn’t the only time the two teams got a bit chirpy with each other this season. Here’s what George said after the Clips’ 113-103 win over Phoenix on April 9, when more trash talk was exchanged between the two teams, per ESPN:
“We focused on us. I don’t know what that chirp is about. We focused on us. I don’t care what they’re doing over there. I don’t care who they are or what they’re doing. I’m locked in. They can do the chirping, I let them have it tonight. I just stayed in my zone, stayed in my place, I don’t know. … I don’t care what they’re doing. We’re focused on us over here. We’re focused on getting better. Tonight was a fun matchup, and we appreciate the challenge.”
Now, George and company are about to get challenged again, this time in the Western Conference Finals.