Gary Payton isn’t taking for granted he will be first-ballot Hall of Famer. But let’s just say he’s ready if it happens.
Payton already knows who his Hall of Famer presenters will be whenever he might be enshrined.
“I would name two of them, John Stockton and George Gervin,’’ Payton said in a phone interview with FOX Sports Florida. “John Stockton is someone that I respect and was the toughest basketball player I played (against). George Gervin, because I admired him ever since I was (growing up). Those are guys that I respect a lot.’’
Payton and Stockton definitely had their battles. They faced each other in the postseason four times (’92, ’93, ’96, 2000), with Utah coming out as the winner on three of those series. Gervin last played in the NBA in 1986 so he preceded Payton by four years but he’s a man, as Payton mentioned, respected a lot.
And I don’t see why The Glove, as Payton was called in the NBA, shouldn’t be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He was a standout at Oregon State, averaging 18.1 points and 7.8 assists in his four years there and a consensus All-American in 1990. He and Shawn Kemp went on to form a dynamic duo in Seattle. They were contenders for many years and made the NBA Finals in 1996. Late in his career, he played for Milwaukee, the Lakers, Boston, and Miami. Payton got his elusive championship ring playing with Shaq and Dwyane Wade in 2006.
Gary Payton averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.8 steals in his illustrious NBA career. Among his many accolades, he was a nine-time All-Sar and won Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. Considering how rare it is for guards to win DPOY, that is an impressive feat.
Gary Payton certainly has the résumé. Now we wait until April 8, when they reveal the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2013.