Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Used Clippers Trading Him To Thunder For Paul George As ‘Motivation’ To Become Superstar

During an interview with NBA reporter Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander admitted that he used the Los Angeles Clippers trading him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George as “motivation” to become a superstar. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Paul George, Clippers, Thunder, NBA
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The Clippers traded Gilgeous-Alexander and a bevy of draft picks to the Thunder for George in July 2019. 

“I didn’t see it coming,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I’m not like, ‘Why would you do that?’ It made sense. I think Paul just came off like an MVP-caliber year. … I used it a little bit as motivation just to get better and really turn myself into that caliber of player.”

Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the best players in the NBA today. The Kentucky product is averaging 31.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.2 steals and 0.9 blocks this season for the Thunder while shooting 54.6% from the field, 37.1% from 3 and 88.3% from the foul line. 

The Clippers traded for George and signed Kawhi Leonard in the summer of 2019, acquiring two of the top forwards in the NBA. However, LAC hasn’t reached the Finals yet in the Leonard-George era. 

Meanwhile, the Thunder have a talented core of Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, Luguentz Dort and Josh Giddey. OKC also has a ton of future draft picks thanks to the George trade. 

“I just think both sides won,” George said after the Clippers’ January 16 home win over the Thunder. “I did think it was quite a lot that the Clippers were willing to give up, but their commitment to me is my commitment to them. So just appreciative that they went out and grabbed me and brought me over here. Very appreciative of Steve [Ballmer]. But both sides won.”

The Clippers are 36-17. They are in third place in the West. Meanwhile, the Thunder are 37-17. They are in second place in the West. 

“Every day we come to work the same way,” Gilgeous-Alexander said in January. “I think we all stay in the moment, and I think that’s why we’ve been able to get better. We just stay in the moment, attack the day, attack the program in front of us.”

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