Gary Payton is finally getting all of the respect he deserves. He was one of the best point guards and floor generals that ever played in the NBA and now he is headed into the Hall Of Fame. Gary grew up in Oakland, California and played his college basketball at Oregon State University. While a sophomore at Oregon State, PaytonÂ became academically ineligible and could no compete. Gary worked hard, and stayed focused and regained his status with the team. During his four-year career at OSU, he became one of the most decorated basketball players in Oregon State history.Â By his senior year at OSU he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the best college basketball player in the country. He was a consensus All- American in 1990; three-time All-Pac-10 selection, and named the Pac-10 conference’s 1987 Freshman of the Year.
Gary Payton was drafted with the second pick in the 1990 NBA draft to the Seattle Supersonics. Trash talking and tough defense were the trademark for Payton.Â One of my favorite NBA players of all time and the only point guard ever to win the NBA Defensive Player of the year award. Gary earned his nickname “The Glove” when Payton’s cousin called him during the 1993 Western Conference Finals series against Phoenix and told him, “you’re holding Kevin Johnson like a baseball with a glove”, and the legend was born. Throughout his NBA career, Gary Payton made a name for himself with his tremendous work ethic and playing through injury. During his 17 year NBA career he only missed 25 games. During one stretch he held the longest active streak for consecutive games with 300, and continued to battle to be the NBA elite and show he is one of the greatest point guards ever.
One of my favorite Gary Payton moments was when he and Micheal Jordan went head to head in the 1996 NBA Finals. Former Seattle coach George Karl made the decision to assign Payton to play defense as a shooting guard instead of his normal point guard assignment in order to defend Jordan. The Chicago Bulls eventually won the series but Gary Payton and the Supersonics held Jordan and the Bulls to their lowest offensive output in an NBA finals and “frustrated the best player in the game.” During this series, Payton and the Sonics also held Micheal Jordan’s Bulls to the lowest-scoring quarter in their NBA Finals history.
Gary Payton played 12 1/2 year with Seattle before he was traded in 2003 in a five player trade to Milwaukee Bucks for guard Ray Allen and several players. Gary Payton bounced around for a while for Milwaukee to the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2003-2004 season. Payton continuedÂ his journey to the Boston Celtics for the 2004-2005 season with minimal success. But his career was highlighted when he signed a one year contract with the Miami Heat. Gary Payton’s won his first NBA Championship in his 16th season with the Heat when they defeated the Dallas MavericksÂ 4 to 2 in the series.
With all these great accomplishments I am honored to say that I was here to see “The Glove” get in the Hall Of Fame. That being said Gary Payton congratulations this is well deserved and a long time coming.