Gary Payton’s second journey from “sorry” basketball player to NBA champion

The basketball journey of Gary Payton II is One of the most respected stories in the NBA.

While many know of his inspiring path to becoming the NBA Champion, Payton has recently delved into a rocky path to overcoming adversity.

But the concern and doubt about Payton’s ability to play professional basketball didn’t start when he went ill-equipped in 2016, or when he bounced from team to team during the G League and the National Basketball Association.

It all started at home, where his father, nine-time NBA champion Gary Payton Sr., told him he wasn’t a good basketball player.

In high school, Payton says he didn’t take basketball seriously. He was busy jumping into different sports each season and focused on his academics to make sure he was eligible to play.

Payton said on a recent episode of Podcast “Truth and Basketball”. “Ha, he told me I was a sad basketball player…and asked me to get a job or a scholarship because he wouldn’t pay me to go to school.”

From that moment, Payton did not stop grinding.

He worked his game with a coach for years all the way through two seasons at Salt Lake Community College in Utah. He then went on to play two seasons at Oregon before going without drafting in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Eventually, he struck a deal with the Houston Rockets. From there, the road was up and down with six NBA teams and five J-League teams.

One of those teams, of course, was the Warriors. After signing consecutive 10-day contracts with Golden State in 2021, the Warriors signed with Payton for the remainder of the 2020-21 season and 2021-22 season.

Payton was cut short before the start of the 2021-22 season, but he asked Warriors general manager Bob Myers if he could still stay and work with the team.

After agreeing, Myers and the Warriors noticed Payton’s dedication and decided to give him a place on the list.

A few months later, Payton became a major part of the Warriors’ end-of-season tour to the playoffs and eventually the NBA Finals, where he won a championship for the first time.

‘After the bell rang,’ Payton said, ‘I just sat on the bench, and literally sat there like I was a complete relief, full weight off my shoulder.’ “From my circumcision, from my dad telling me I’m a sad basketball player, coaches everywhere I went saying I wouldn’t be fit just because I couldn’t shoot and I wouldn’t be able to play in this league.

“I just sat there. I waited for my family to find me. I can’t even put it into words. But then my dad came, and he was upset, and I told him he wasn’t the only one with a ring now. So you know, I had to give him a little sentimental talk” because I I knew I had to ’cause I could at that time.

Payton’s success in the NBA proved many people wrong, including his father.

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“The weirdest thing about him is that we used to feel really cool about basketball because he always wanted me to do things the way he does, the way he was brought up,” Payton said. “I was trying to tell him ‘Your way and mine are completely different.’ He doesn’t understand my way, and I don’t understand his way because he went second, and I went without an industry. I had to go through the G League, get cut a few times. They gave him time and patience to be To him, there are some things he did not understand during my trip.

Now he understands. I did it my way, and it worked my way. Now he is proud of me.”

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