Paul George: Larry Bird supports me playing in 2016 Rio Olympics

Paul George Larry Bird

Paul George, despite his devastating leg injury in a World Cup scrimmage last summer, wants to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Team USA has a spot waiting for him, and it seems nothing will stand in his way – especially not Pacers president Larry Bird.

David Woods of IndyStar:

The Indiana Pacers forward affirmed Saturday that he wants to be on the U.S. basketball team playing in next summer’s Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro.

“Of course,” he said. “I’ve had a dream of lifting that gold medal. That’s definitely motivation.”

George said Pacers President Larry Bird, a member of the original 1992 Dream Team, is supportive.

“Larry, of all people, knows how important it is to play and represent for your country,” George said. “So regardless of the situation, I know he’s got my back on that one. And it’s a personal goal.

“I won’t let injury … injury is a part of the game. The last thing I’ll do is let that keep me from making the dream happen. No hard feelings towards none of the situation.”

George returned more quickly than expected, playing late last season. As long as he’s healthy next summer, he’d probably deserve a spot on the U.S. Olympic team on merit.

After he sacrificed so much to represent his country, there’s no doubt George should make the roster if he wants. Not every NBA team is on board with its players participating in these international competitions, but it’s nice to see Bird support George here.