Known as one of the best defensive players ever to play the game, Gary Payton was finally honored for his accomplishments, as he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday in Springfield, Mass.
Payton, who spent most of his career with the Seattle Supersonics, averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game during his 17 years in the NBA. He also garnered NBA All-Defensive Team honors nine times, as well as Defensive Player of the Year in 1996.
However, all of his accomplishments aside, what Payton truly wanted was an NBA title, which he finally won in his second to last season with the Miami Heat.
Coveting the nickname “The Glove” for his hands-on defense that drove his opponents crazy, Payton was one of the best defenders this game has ever seen. Although catching some heat for stating that John Stockton was harder to guard than Michael Jordan, Payton backed up his comments by stating in his HOF inductee speech, “It’s my opinion.”
Payton went on to further boast, “For my Sonics teammates, I share this honor with you. Especially the rain man Shawn Kemp. Y’all talk about the ‘Lob City’ over there with the (Los Angeles) Clippers, we was the original ‘Lob City.’” He then went on to say that he didn’t expect to be in the HOF, but “I really really liked my chances of being here.”
And as a final exclamation point to his career of trash-talking, he made a final shot at Reggie Miller, stating, “I am the greatest trash-talker of all-time, Reggie.”
No one will ever forget The Glove and the impeccable toughness that he brought to the game. Congratulations to him and the rest of his family; he deserves to relish in every moment of this triumph.