LeBron James and Paul George may be the two top players from the two top teams in the Eastern Conference, but George says that when the two All-Stars are not duking it out for NBA supremacy, he looks at James as a role model — and hopefully a mentor.
"It would be great to be able to pick his brain, pick his mind and just talk about the game because I think he’s a player that can help me get to the next level and continue to keep going to the next level," George told the site. "I wish some day we have that relationship where he is someone I can talk to — not during the season because I’m too competitive during the season — but maybe in the summertime."
Sure, it seems odd for a player of George’s stature to publicly seek out another superstar’s advice, but George says it comes from a place of respect for the legend James is becoming — and a desire to one day reach his level of success and admiration.
"He’s someone that motivates me," George told Basketball Insiders. "This league is all about guys being competitive and competing. And don’t get me wrong, every time I’m matched up with him I’m going to try to get the best out of him and come out as the best player of that game. But at the same time, he’s been someone that I looked up to. He’s someone I’m going to continue to look up to because at the end of the day, the position I want to be in is where he’s at."
George’s openness about his desire to learn from James speaks to his humility, and George says he’d be happy to do the same for another up-and-comer, should someone ever seek his advice.
"I’m still young so there’s a lot of stuff I have to learn before I feel like I can help a young guy," the 23-year-old said. "I’ve got to grow into my mentoring role and then I’ll be one of those guys that mentors young guys."
Whether LeBron is open to lending a hand to George, however, may depend on how this year’s Eastern Conference Finals play out.