It’s appropriate that NBA superstar Paul George plays for the Indiana Pacers, one of the original American Basketball Association franchises. After all, George’s game and demeanor are reminiscent of the spirit of the ABA—of freewheeling, streetball-inspired basketball that spawned the careers of Dr. J and George “The Iceman” Gervin.

More to the point, one could easily see George in the title role of a reboot of the 1979 cult classic film, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, which starred Dr. J. Like the Doctor, George would be amazing putting his array of silky-smooth moves on display, underscored by a ’70s funk soundtrack.

But PG-13, as he is known, is not just a work of art on the floor. He is also resilient, able to bounce back from the gruesome 2014 leg injury that happened during a scrimmage with USA Basketball. In 2015-2016, the Palmdale, California, native returned to form, averaging 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists while leading Indiana to a playoff appearance. He also was a key contributor for the Olympic team that took home gold in Brazil this summer.

This season (which tips off tonight), expectations are high for the Pacers. Team President Larry Bird worked his magic in the offseason, acquiring All-Star guard Jeff Teague from the Hawks. Indiana also signed consistent big man Al Jefferson to a three-year, $30 million deal. With first-year coach Nate McMillan at the helm, George is excited, saying that he thinks Indiana can score 115 points a game and he can win MVP.

Recently, the NBA 2K17 cover man talked with Made Man about the upcoming season, who should be on the cover of 2K18, the time Bird came out to practice in work clothes and lit up the basket and much more.

“Now that Kevin Garnett is gone, I’m not sure who’s the biggest trash talker in the league. But he was until he retired.”

How many times have you watched the replay of your nasty leg injury? 
I haven’t.

What did you learn from that whole experience—the injury and the rehab? 
I learned patience and developed a greater work ethic. I also learned more about the game by watching, seeing what guys do during games when I’m usually competing against them. It was like going to school, learning new things.

Where should guys go for a good steak in Indy other than St. Elmo? 
Ruth’s Chris.

Congrats for making the cover of NBA 2K17. If you could nominate another player for the next cover, who would it be? 
Russell Westbrook.

Outside of 2K, what’s your favorite video game, and who is your favorite teammate to play with? 
FIFA Soccer with Kevin Seraphin.

Who’s the biggest trash talker in the league, and what has he said?
Now that Kevin Garnett is gone, I’m not sure. But he was until he retired.

“Larry Bird walked onto the court after practice in a dress shirt, long sleeves, calmly dropped seven or eight jumpers in a row, then went and sat back down. It was like, ‘Still got it, hope you were paying attention.’ ”

Speaking of great trash talkers, what’s your best Larry Bird story? 
Probably the day when he walked onto the court after practice in a dress shirt, long sleeves, calmly dropped seven or eight jumpers in a row, then went and sat back down. It was like, “Still got it, hope you were paying attention.”

Is LeBron James your toughest matchup in the league? If not him, who and why?
He may be everyone’s toughest matchup in the league. There are so many tough matchups at this level. LeBron’s sheer strength, at both ends, can wear you down. But Kevin Durant, Melo, there’s a bunch. You have to be on your game defensively against a lot of guys.

How deep in the playoffs do you think Indiana can go, and what did you work on in the offseason to strengthen your candidacy for MVP?
We’ve got some good talent here this year, good depth. We’re running more, looking to score more, so we’ll have to be sharp defensively for that to work effectively. As a player, you always shoot for the ultimate goal, which is to win a championship. I did what I usually do, worked on everything, shooting, ball handling, footwork. Whatever it takes to get better.

What does it mean to be a gentleman in 2016? 
Show respect for others. Treat everyone as you would want to be treated.

Photos: Getty