Gary Payton enters the Hall of Fame this weekend, and with his induction comes a special sense of pride in having watched one of the finest point guards in history play the game.
I’m talking Gary Payton in the early Seattle days with those fire ass jerseys.
I’m talking Gary Payton when he and Shawn Kemp composed the league’s marquee fast break tandem.
I’m talking Gary Payton who is undoubtedly the starting point guard on the all-time starting five of trash talkers.
I’m talking the Gary Payton who could knock down jumpers and take a defender in the post the very next play.
I’m talking Gary Payton who won the 1996 Defensive Player of the Year Award and had long since earned one of the best nicknames ever in “The Glove.”
I’m talking the Gary Payton who demanded George Karl to let him guard Michael Jordan after being told no in the first three games of the ’96 Finals.
I’m talking the Gary Payton who then talked shit to him, defended M.J. about as well as anyone ever did on a grand stage and, despite losing the series, intensified his legacy as a fearless, loud-mouthed floor general for the ages.
Yeah, that Gary Payton and then some. The following video does its best to capture a legendary presence in less than four minutes. An impossible task, indeed, but the clip presents a good chunk of The Glove’s finest moments in a career that spanned two decades and exactly zero instances of backing down from a challenge. He was one of those rare breed of hardwood sociopaths who took pride breaking down an opponent of the offensive end and neutering them on the defensive end. If Gary Payton saw a drop of blood, the rest of the game was an embalming ceremony.
Nevertheless, one time for G.P. and one more time for whatever he’s planning on saying during his induction speech. Thank God be played in the era he did, too. Just imagine how many taunting technicals Payton would’ve averaged in today’s league.