Gary Payton is one of the greatest point guards of all time and had an NBA career that spanned multiple decades. One NBA championship, nine NBA All-Star Game showings and a Defensive Player of the Year trophy speak for themselves.
Because he had the opportunity to play with everyone from Shawn Kemp to Shaquille O’Neal to Kobe Bryant to Dwyane Wade, Payton has a unique perspective on players that few can offer.
This past week, Payton appeared on Kevin Garnett’s podcast and told a particularly emotional story about Bryant.
It resonated with listeners in a way that even Payton probably didn’t see coming.
“KG, Kobe was very different,” Payton said.
“He was a different kid. I was in 10 years plus in the NBA at the time. It was like my 10th or 11th year in the league, and Kobe didn’t have a fear of nothing to ask nobody to get better. So he came by me and he was like, ‘Big bro man, you be doing this and that and that. I wanna learn this man. I really wanna learn it because of you.’
“And when he said that, that took something out of me. It took something in my heart that a kid with his ability, knowing where he was going, wants to really learn and he doesn’t have an ego, He doesn’t have an ego. And I don’t mind that.”
Payton often offers a treasure trove of incredible NBA stories. Whether he is breaking down how he got his ‘The Glove’ nickname, Bryant’s perceived selfishness or the extent of Scottie Pippen’s beef with Michael Jordan – he always keeps it real.
Just 1 roadblock remains.https://t.co/dtbE4TE2gp
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 24, 2023
This was just the latest example of that.
What fun tidbits will Payton ultimately drop going forward?
Time will tell.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.