Gilbert Arenas recalled how Seattle SuperSonics legend Gary Payton totally bust his a** in his rookie year with the Warriors.
Before he went to Washington as a free agent, Agent Zero was drafted by the Warriors as a second-round pick. He found playing time hard to come by in his rookie year.
A part of the reason for this was the way he got given the business by Gary Payton. Arenas described how GP gave him his welcome to the NBA on the Knuckleheads podcast last year:
“It was 7 minutes, 7-8 minutes of ass-whooping that he gave me. It was just one of those things where he had like 17 points, all on me in the first 5 minutes.”
“Like it was the first time in my career, especially early career, you know? When you’re early in your career, after you dominated high school and college.”
“He wasn’t talking any trash to me, nah, he wasn’t saying nothing, that was the problem. He was just scoring, so it was like I got subbed out. I ran off the court so damn fast. Woo!”
“Man, that motherf***er nice! Like it was one of those things where I was like ‘I don’t think I wanna go in when he’s in.’ And then he got subbed out and Weeber came in? I don’t know who he is, but I can go against him!”
“At halftime, when I got back in, he was like ‘You’re lucky, I ain’t the AI type. I would’ve scored 50 against you. Yeah, you’re right, you’re right. I ain’t gonna lie.'”
How long did Gary Payton play in the NBA?
GP, who came from the streets of Oakland, was probably the greatest defender at the guard position the league has ever seen. He’s the only point guard to be awarded Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Gary Payton also holds an NBA record 9 All-Defensive First Team selections. ‘The Glove’ as he was called, came into the league with his defense as his calling card. But he also gradually developed his scoring game in addition to becoming one of the top playmakers of the 90s.
His SuperSonics team made it to only 1 NBA Finals during his prime years despite multiple 60-win seasons. They famously lost to the 8th-seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round in one of those years.
Nevertheless, Payton found the championship success that had eluded him till that point in Miami. He hit a crucial game-winner for the Heat in Game 3 of those 2006 NBA Finals.
Payton retired in 2007 after a 17-year career consisting of practically every accolade in the book.