Brian Golden

Thursday was a big day in the capital of Clippers Nation.

Paul George, Palmdale’s Favorite Son, departed for Orlando with his Los Angeles Clippers teammates.

The next time we see PG-13, he could be holding a familiar shiny gold ball.

It’s ironic how much this reminds us of four years ago.

Then, Palmdale’s Knight in Shining Armor departed for Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

There were some health concerns then, too, with filthy marshes near the Olympic Village feared to be infection breeding grounds.

The only infection the Knight High legend came home with was gold medal fever.

Imagine — a son of Palmdale’s windswept Dominic Massari Park confirming his status as one of the 12 best basketball players in the world.

The Casa de George trophy case is filling up nicely.

The gold medal is in there, along with six NBA All-Star jerseys, the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, and his 2010 NBA Draft Lottery notice, when Larry Bird overruled his entire Indiana Pacers personnel department to draft the obscure kid from Fresno State 10th overall. 

There’s a reason they call him Larry Legend.

The major space in the showcase, of course, is for the shiny gold ball otherwise known as the Larry O’Brien Trophy emblematic of the NBA world championship.

But there are two other spaces being reserved, as well.

One is for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award.

The other is for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Just twice has one player won the NBA’s top two honors in the same season: Michael Jordan in 1988, and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994.

Palmdale’s Honorary Mayor was a finalist for both a year ago.

The fact that he achieved that with only one good shoulder for the second half of the season makes it all the more remarkable.

The extent of the damage repaired by offseason surgery was shown by the 10 games he missed to start the season.

Once he got going, his hamstrings decided to start tormenting him.

But that was then.

The Paul George who departed for the NBA Bubble at Disney’s Wide World of Sports was in the best shape he’s been in several years.

The only imminent danger now is spraining his face from smiling so widely.

Just like the Paul George who spent all his free time at Dominic Massari Park, he will be spending all his time in essentially the same place over the next three months.

Palmdale’s easternmost precinct is about to become the NBA bubble in Orlando.

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