Gary Payton is one of the greatest point guards of all time. What he accomplished throughout his storied NBA career speaks for itself.
Because Payton’s run in the league spanned 17 years, he has a unique perspective regarding various talents that he had to face off against regularly during that near-two decade stretch.
Payton played against everyone from Michael Jordan to Magic Johnson to John Stockton to Chris Paul to Kobe Bryant.
This week, he offered an interesting perspective on who the toughest player he ever guarded was.
Surprisingly enough, it was Stockton.
“I got to guard him 94 feet,” Payton said.
“I got to think about coming off of picks, he’s throwing passes, he’s coming back trying to steal basketballs, he’s always moving, he’s taking charges on me, he’s doing a lot of things. I have to always focus on him.”
Whether he is giving his blunt reaction to being mocked by Jordan, explaining why NBA veterans absolutely hated Kobe Bryant or getting brutally honest about Russell Westbrook’s run with the Los Angeles Lakers – Payton always keeps it real.
Now that’s how you vacation. https://t.co/8LSqAwmLSr
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 2, 2022
So if he is saying Stockton was the toughest player to guard over the course of his career, you know he means it.
Payton is an encyclopedia of hoops knowledge, particularly from the era in which he played. Because of that, it will be interesting to see what he ultimately chooses to open up about next.