Our correspondent Todd Kline provided us the above photo for his monthly “Adventures of Todd Kline” feature, and I couldn’t help but smile. Kline got a chance to fish with NBA star – and Los Angelinos hope future Laker – Paul George.
Admittedly, I’m a longtime Golden State Warriors fan who is finally happy after years of suffering and frustration.
But I’m also a big Paul George fan. He’s become one of the most visible and reported on players in pro basketball now, but at his roots George is a kid from Palmdale who played college basketball mostly in anonimity at my alma mater, Fresno State (much like the guy he was supporting earlier this summer.
But enough about why I like Paul George so much, how about that the guy loves fishing!
As a part of his first ever Celebrity Fishing Tournament on Sunday, George teamed up with Bass Pro Shops and a variety of professional anglers to host a bass-catching competition for charity. When George hopped into his boat, comfortably donning a grey t-shirt, grey shorts and a backwards hat, it was clear he was in his comfort zone.
That’s exactly where the Thunder wants him to be, which is why Head Coach Billy Donovan and fishing enthusiasts Josh Huestis and assistant coach Adrian Griffin all traveled to California and joined George out on the water. Their speed boats skipped gracefully across the lake as the competition began, each group of consisting of a member of the Thunder and a professional bass fisherman.
“It means a lot,” George said of the support of his new organization. “I’m forever grateful for that.”
George had gone out onto Castaic the day before – graphing and charting the clusters of large and small mouth bass that he found scattered along the edges of the lake. As a part of this competition, the striped bass that hang in deeper water in the center of the lake were off limits. Just like any good professional NBA player, George was ready from the start with his very own scouting report of where they all would most likely be.
So there was George, all 6-foot-9, 220 pounds of him, standing up on the boat tucked away in a quiet cove on the lake, easily flicking his wrist to send his line towards the bank. It was a beautiful day, a relaxing way to spend a Sunday morning.
There was just one proverbial hitch in the line. The fish were mostly too small, and the ones that were big enough weren’t biting.
Fans of George’s new team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, are hoping George’s trade from Indiana that he’ll re-sign with the Thunder next summer. As every Laker fan will tell you, George can be a free agent after this season. So the fact that George’s new teammate, superstar Russell Westbrook – who constantly finds himself in the news, even for absurd reasons – joined in on the SoCal bass fishing, could bode well for the Thunder holding onto George and keeping him in fishing-crazed Oklahoma.
Anyway, George, Westbrook, OKC coach Billy Donovan and several other members of the Thunder family, had a great experience at Castaic (our guy Kline finished second in the charity event).