During his final years in the league, 9-time All-Star Gary Payton decided to join forces with the iconic duo – Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
The Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the best franchise in NBA history. The Lakers are tied with the Boston Celtics with the most number of NBA championships ever with 17 each. Los Angeles has been providing the league with great players throughout the history of the association.
Gary Payton has often spoken about the respect and love he holds for the great Kobe Bryant. Recently, The Glove was asked about his lone season at Los Angeles alongside Hall-Of-Famers Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Payton didn’t hold back his feeling and stated:
“I caught Kobe when he was going through a lot with what happened in Denver, I got a chance to be his big brother. I got to know him as Kobe and not as what people were talking about with what him (Kobe) and Shaq were doing. Shaq is my brother and I love him to death.”
‘I miss Kobe Bryant so much, I hate that he isn’t here’: Gary Payton on the Black Mamba
Gary Payton spent only a single year with Kobe and the Lakers. Despite which he formed an inseparable relation with the Black Mamba as well as Shaq. Payton revealed how much he misses the late Kobe Bryant. When asked about his relationship with the 5-time NBA champ, Payton was candid and let his emotions out:
“That’s the reason I went to the Lakers. To get to know Kobe the way I did was a pleasure. I hate that he’s gone and I hate that he’s not here, I miss him so much and talking to him and my kids talking to him. I love him because he’s a warrior too.”
“He wanted things on his own and he wanted to do things on his own. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you want to be great and he was great. He didn’t act like he was bigger than anyone.”
“He asked me questions all the time and I gave him answers. It was my duty to tell him the right way to do things and it was a pleasure for me to be in his life and know him the way I did for the forty years he was on this Earth.”
“It was great to find out what kind of person he was.”
Gary Payton reflects on his relationship with Kobe. pic.twitter.com/vLIlmEl5En
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 28, 2020
The way Gary Payton spoke highly of Mamba, tells us what a legacy the impactful player Kobe has left with. Bryant may have been long gone, but his impact on the game and his fans will be certainly live on.