But no book can contain the emotion this man brought to the game. His character is just too hot for the printed page. To fully grasp Gary Payton, to me, you want to watch and listen.
Gary Payton didn't win every game he played in, but if you have seen him compete, then you understand the the man never lost anything for lack of fire.
The video evidence:
- Just this spring, Payton stuck it to Charles Barkley when Barkley criticized Payton's hometown, Oakland. It's one of a million Gary Payton moments I will remember.
- He was big in the 2006 NBA Finals for Miami, when he finally won his first ring.
- I can still picture the goofy perch of the Sonics hat on his head on draft night.
- There are a ton of good Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp highlights from their 1996 trip to the NBA Finals, including several instances of Gary Payton getting under Michael Jordan's skin.
- There are hundreds of moments like this one -- when his supreme confidence was on display -- driving solo the length of the court, through four defenders, in four seconds.
- Can anyone forget his live-on-national TV motivational speech in the West locker room at the All-Star game?
- Many years after his departure from Seattle, Payton's is still the most memorable face in a video designed to remind Seattle how much it loves its NBA team.