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Gary Payton elected to Hall of Fame
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 6, 2013 @ 12:00 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Gary Payton frustrated opponents. He did it with his quick hands. He did it with his endless trash talk. He did it with his cocksure alley-oops to Shawn Kemp. He did it with his effortless scoring.
Payton frustrated everyone so much they had no choice but to put him in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The former Seattle SuperSonics point guard told NBA.com’s Scott Howard Cooper he has been notified; he’s in. The selections will be announced Monday, though at least college coaches Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian will join Payton.
And of course “The Glove” makes it in his first year of eligibility. He’s the only point guard to win defensive player of the year and probably was the best point guard of the 1990s. Payton and Kemp were NBA icons in the middle part of the decade, as the 1996 Western Conference champions, as the dynamic duo next to Karl Malone and John Stockton’s stability, even as the best pairing in the original NBA Jam video game.
Payton averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals over 1,335 NBA games. After 12½ seasons with the Sonics, who drafted him second overall in 1990, he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, then finished his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. With the Heat in 2006, he finally won the ring denied to him for so long.
Payton’s career started unusually slowly despite his being a high draft pick and four-year star at Oregon State. He joined a playoff-bound 1990-91 Sonics team with many solid scorers, including Kemp, Ricky Pierce, Dale Ellis and Eddie Johnson. Payton started every game but averaged 7.2 points and 6.4 assists that season, taking after coach K.C. Jones, also a Hall of Fame point guard who was known for his defense and deference with the Boston Celtics in the 1960s.
By his fourth season, Payton was a star, a role he would leverage into nine consecutive All-Star Game appearances. He and the Sonics peaked in 1995-96, when they reached the NBA Finals only to run into Michael Jordan and the … [For more on Gary Payton elected to Basketball Hall of Fame, click here.]
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