Paul George on partnering with American Express and NBA 2K on a 2K22 ‘experience,’ playing without Kawhi Leonard, and the Clippers’ path in the West

paul george
Paul George.

  • Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George spoke to Insider about his partnership in the launch of an activation called “The American Express x NBA 2K22 Experience.”
  • George discussed his 2K rating and gaming habits, playing without injured teammate Kawhi Leonard, and the Clippers’ path in this season’s Western Conference.

A self-proclaimed “avid 2K player,” Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George will expand on a partnership with the NBA 2K franchise on Friday when he participates in the launch of a new activation from 2K and American Express.

The activation, called “The American Express x NBA 2K22 Experience,” will take place as a pop-up from December 10-12 next to the Staples Center (soon to be Arena). It’ll offer free NBA 2K digital merchandise and in-game features to Amex card members and bring elements of the game to life in immersive on-site gameplay, according to a rep for Amex.

amex pop-up
A rendering of “The American Express x NBA 2K22 Experience.”

To promote the activation, George and WNBA star Breanna Stewart will face off in a NBA 2K22 game livestreamed from the pop-up and broadcast on the NBA’s Twitch channel from 3-4 pm PST on Friday.

George spoke to Insider in a phone interview earlier this week about his partnership with 2K and participation in the launch. The seven-time NBA All-Star discussed his 2K rating and gaming habits, “enjoying going through” the process of leading the Clippers in the absence of injured teammate Kawhi Leonard, and his team’s path this season in the NBA’s Western Conference.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

How did this come together, the partnership and your participation in it?

Well, obviously being a partner with 2K and just genuinely being a fan, this has been something.. 2K has been a part of my life since a kid. So it started there. And then, obviously wanted to continue the partnership and continue to grow the brand of 2K. This deal came about, and I was all for it.

How’s your talent level at 2K compared to the other games in your rotation? I know you’re a gamer.

Yeah, I mean, I’m an avid 2K player. Again, I genuinely love the game. You know, it’s fun, a lot of my friends play it, and I seen the game grow from 2000 to 2K22 now. I’ve seen it grow tremendously. So, it’s kinda just something that’s been a lifelong game for me, and I’m loving the direction it’s going.

Do you get 2K fatigue at all, playing out your day job essentially? If they had a Journalism 2K I wouldn’t touch it. [Laugh].

[Laugh]. Yeah, you know, there are moments where I don’t have the capacity to play on the court and then when the game’s over to jump off the court and get on 2K. So there’s days like that. But when there’s like an off day or there’s two days in between a game, you get the itch to be involved in some type of basketball. And that kinda keeps my competitive juices going. So it’s fun to grab my MyPlayer, hop in the rec, and play some, you know, pickup ball.

You’re having your best season as a Clipper statistically. Best in several years. Your 2K rating is lagging that, in my view. How do you see that?

You know, I don’t necessarily know what they view, but, uh.. it is what it is. I definitely feel my 2K rating should be a lot higher, if they account for me playing both ends. But like I said, it is what it is. I can’t do much about it other than my play on the court, and have them boost my ratings however they see, or however it fits with how I’m playing.

How would you say the return of fans and attendance has impacted your game, compared to last season?

Yeah, I mean, for me, I wouldn’t necessarily say I play for the fans, but there’s obviously perks of having fans there. You know, it’s an adrenaline rush, and it’s a lot easier to lock in and just be engaged and feel, uh.. focused, when there’s fans there. For me. It was a bit of a change to go to quiet arenas, and really no fan engagement. It was a weird feeling. So it’s great to have fans back. It’s great to have that animosity. It’s great to have that, uh.. pandemonium, and loud noise. That’s what this game is about, and it needed that, honestly.

kawhi leonard paul george
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in September at the groundbreaking of the Clippers’ new arena, the Intuit Dome, set to open in 2024.

How would you describe the shift in your in-game mindset having to play without Kawhi?

Yeah. You know, it was tough. Obviously we signed up to be here together and to try to do this thing together. So when one goes down, we have to pull the weight for the other. So it’s been tough, but I feel the team is only gonna get better as we try to figure this out together, as we try to grow together. And then when he comes back, we should be rolling. Hopefully we’re positioned right where we want to be to make a push late in the season, if he can make a return. So, it’s been a lot on my shoulders, but I’m enjoying the process. I’m enjoying going through it. I’m enjoying growing with the younger guys and helping them find their way. And ultimately, playing back home.

What are the keys to a sustainable run in the West this year, for this team?

I think just consistency. The West has always been competitive, but I think just across the league now, the whole league is pretty competitive. That’s just the key, the consistency and just being competitive. You know, you wanna be playing your best basketball obviously later in the year, but there’s so much factors that go into it that that you kinda have to build your way up to that point. And I think that’s what we’re getting to.

Read the original article on Business Insider