Seattle SuperSonics legend Gary Payton is one of the most respected basketball minds in the sport’s history.
As such, any time he offers any sort of analysis – it always catches people’s attention.
This week, Payton offered some interesting thoughts on Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving.
Prior to last season, Irving made something of a controversial comment during an appearance on the ETCs podcast.
“I don’t really see us having a head coach,” he said. “You know what I mean? KD could be a head coach. I could be a head coach.”
Payton, a respected legend in the league, didn’t take kindly to that assessment. This week, during an appearance on CBS Sports’ Nothing Personal with David Samson, he explained why Irving’s way of thinking was incorrect.
“That’s just a shame right there,” he said. “I think that that was a bad statement by him. You should respect the coaches, you should respect the guys that have been put in those positions.
“And if you want to be that guy, if you were a guy that was my superstar, and you come to me, and you perform on the floor and do the things on the floor that you are supposed to, then I’m gonna bring you in on everything I’m gonna do, anyway. Because I wanna keep you happy and keep my team happy.”
Interestingly enough, Irving and Nash actually developed a very positive relationship. So much so, in fact, that Irving would retract those original comments.
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 10, 2021
“Steve’s been amazing,” Irving told reporters back in December (via Maria Taylor of then-ESPN). “He kind of commands the respect. I think I’ve got to take back my comments in terms of the head coach back a few months ago. But it’s just like, man, we have such a great synergy. Everyone feels like we’re coaching one another to be better, so I’m grateful for that.”
Payton has never been one to bite his tongue. Whether he’s telling it how is in regards to the GOAT debate or putting Michael Jordan in his place, the former Sonics legend always keeps it real. When viewing this situation through that lens, his most recent commentary isn’t particularly surprising at all.