Paul George buys, gives away all tickets for Fresno State opener

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

Paul George gave back to his alma mater by buying ever single ticket for the team's home-opener. (USATSI)
Paul George gave back to his alma mater by buying ever single ticket for the team's home opener. (USATSI)

When Fresno State plays its home opener on Nov. 16 against Cal State Northridge, Indiana Pacer star Paul George will be picking up the tab -- for 15,596 people.

George, who's a fledgling -- and maybe that's underselling it -- superstar in the NBA, attended Fresno State for two years. He left following the 2009-10 season and entered the draft, largely, as an unknown commodity by fans since he was seldom on TV while with the Bulldogs. He was picked 10th overall and has ascended ever since.

The Fresno Business Journal first reported last week that George bought out the Save Mart Center for the home debut of his Bulldogs -- and would be giving away all the tickets for free. That means any fan that wants to attend the game need only print this out, show up at the box office and they'll be given a ducat.

"Fresno State at the Save Mart Center is one of the best facilities in college basketball," George told "If you've never seen it, never been to it, it's almost an NBA arena. In my time, we never sold it out so I want those kids to have that experience to get a sold-out crowd and play in front of a full arena. I thought that was the best way to do it."

A rough estimation by the Indianapolis Star puts George's purchase at $265,132. But George told the gesture only cost him $7,000. Interesting. All of this was possible (and didn't ding George's wallet too much) because of a recently signed a five-year extension with the Pacers that will eventually wind up getting George between $80 to $90 million, depending on incentives earned.

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