Indiana Pacers forward Paul George claims that he wasn't the victim of a “catfish” scheme, but rather the target of a fabricated story cooked up by a female acquaintance.
A man known only as “Paul” on Saturday posted several explicit photos that he claimed to have received from George. The man, who identifies himself as gay, allegedly constructed an online persona and sent photos of an attractive woman to coax athletes into sending him nude photos, Black Sports Online reported.
While the man in the photos closely resembles George, the NBA star categorically denied on Monday allegations that he had been catfished. Instead, he claims that he knows the woman who sent out the photos.
“The whole story, as far as me being catfished, I know the girl that sent the pictures out,” George, 23, told the Indianapolis Star. “It wasn’t a catfish story, it was a girl. I don’t want to get into the story but I know who’s behind it.”
Hours after the catfish story went viral, George struggled to find his rhythm, shooting just 2-of-10 from the field against the Grizzlies on Saturday. After the game, he denied that off-court issues had affected his performance.
“I’m good. A lot of it is just stuff trying to bring me down,” he said. “I’m good with it. The thing that just came out, it’s all a fake. It really don’t have any wear on me because I know it’s not true.”
For George, the alleged catfish scheme is just the latest in a series of off-court incidents this season. In February, a stripper from Miami named “Daniela” claimed that George offered her $1 million to abort a baby conceived during their relationship last summer.
In a statement to TMZ Sports, George denied the stripper’s allegations. “If and when there is legal confirmation that I am the father, I will fully embrace my responsibilities. This is a personal matter that is still being sorted out, so I hope you can respect my privacy,” he said in the statement.