Seattle SuperSonics, NBA
- NBA Champion with the Miami Heat (2006)
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1996)
- 9X NBA All-Star (1994-1998, 2000-2003)
- 2x All-NBA First Team (1998, 2000)
- Named to The Sporting News’ “Good Guys In Sports” list in 1999
Gary Payton is a retired NBA point guard. While best known for his 13-year tenure with the Seattle SuperSonics, Gary also played with the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Gary, also known as “The Glove,” is widely considered one of the greatest point guards of all time. He won the prestigious NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 1996 and was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times, an NBA record he shares with Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant. A nine-time NBA All-Star and nine-time All-NBA Team member, Gary is considered the NBA’s reigning high scorer amongst point guards.
Drafted as the second overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, Gary established himself alongside Shawn Kemp to form the “Sonic Boom,” one of the most thrilling tandems of all time. While playing for the SuperSonics, Gary was the first guard in eight years to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year and was a member of the gold medal-winning 1996 and 2000 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Teams. Gary led the SuperSonics to the NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls in 1996. Gary went on to play for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2003-2004 season, helping the Lakers beat Houston, San Antonio and Minnesota on their way to the NBA Finals. In the 2004-2005 season, Gary played for the Boston Celtics starting all 77 games and winning the Atlantic Division. Finally, Gary signed with the Miami Heat in 2005. In 2006, the Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks to win the NBA Finals. Gary made a game-winning shot in game three that ignited the Heat’s comeback in the series after being down 0-2. He then went on to make the Heat’s final field goal in a one-point victory. Gary is considered one of the best defensive opponents of Michael Jordan and is the only player in NBA history to accumulate 20,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 8,000 assists and 2,000 steals in a career.
Originally from Oakland, California, Gary played basketball at Oregon State University for all four years before graduating in 1990. In the spring of his senior year, Gary was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the nation’s best college basketball player. He was a consensus All-American in 1990, a three-time All-Pac-10 selection and named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 1987, the MVP of the Far West Classic Tournament three times and the Pac-10 Player of the Week nine times. Gary was also named to the Pac-10’s All-Decade Team and led the Beavers to three NCAA Tournament appearances and one NIT appearance.
Gary was renowned for his tremendous work ethic and courage throughout his career. In the 17 years that he played, he only missed 25 games and at one point held the longest active streak for consecutive games played, with over 300. He missed only two games in ten seasons and was recognized as a clutch performer, hitting several key shots during the Miami Heat’s 2006 championship run. After retiring in 2006, Gary worked as a studio analyst for NBA TV, an occasional substitute analyst on The NBA on TNT and as an actor in several movies. Gary founded The Gary Payton Foundation in 1996 to provide safe places for recreational activity and to help underprivileged youth in his hometown of Oakland to stay in school. He hosts an annual charity basketball game and is highly involved with the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House and Voices for Children. Gary was inducted into Oregon State University’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.