When he suffered a compound fracture of two bones in his lower right leg (yeah, that always gets Googled) in an Aug. 1 scrimmage for Team USA in Las Vegas, the gruesome injury meant the public would be looking him up the rest of the year.
Stephenson decided to leave the Pacers for Charlotte in the offseason. Pacers president Larry Bird offered him five-year, $44-million contract, but Stephenson opted to accept a three-year, $27-million deal with the Hornets. The thinking there was that he would become a free agent sooner for another big pay day.
But Stephenson has struggled so much with Charlotte, rumors have surfaced that the team is interested in trading him. He’s currently sidelined with a pelvic strain until at least Christmas.
George has reiterated his goal to return to the Pacers this season, although Bird and head coach Frank Vogel don’t expect their star to be back until 2015-16.
An Eastern Conference finalist last season with George and Stephenson, the Pacers lost at Denver Saturday night to fall to 8-19. They’ve struggled through extended losing streaks of eight and six games. They enter Sunday night’s game at Minnesota with an eight-game road losing streak.
In terms of overall Google searches for all U.S. athletes, George ranked fourth behind Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Richard Sherman. Anthony was fifth, followed by Derek Jeter, Johnny Manziel (yeah, “Johnny Football”), Russell Wilson, Tony Gwynn and Tim Howard.
The most-searched athlete in the world was Colombian soccer player James Rodriguez.
In terms to trending U.S. teams, the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were first, then the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Cavaliers (thank you, King James), San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Browns (huh?), San Antonio Spurs, Denver Broncos, Milwaukee Brewers, Charlotte Hornets and Baltimore Orioles.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.