Former NBA player and an absolute legend of the game Gary Payton gave an exciting tour of his house in a recent interview for The Players Tribune and their host Nate Robinson. Payton found his home in Danville, California, where he and his family now live. Even though he lives in a mansion with many interesting memorabilia and expensive things, one item for him has the most value. Surprisingly enough, it’s a signed jersey of another legendary player, John Stockton.
For Payton, there was never a question who his toughest opponent was in his NBA career. Even though most fans assumed that is Michael Jordan or some other player, Payton was consistent in saying nobody gave him more problems than John Stockton. That is the main reason he has a signed Stockton jersey in his house and says that is one of his most prized possessions.
Everybody always asks me who is the toughest guy I ever had to guard, and I always say John Stockton. His jersey is my most prized possession right here. I got him right next to J-Kidd and next to Karl Malone. Stockton was the guy I really, really respected. I respect him to this day, and I asked him and George Gervin to induct me into the Hall-of-Fame, which they did. It was an honor for me.Gary Payton, via The Players Tribune
As floor generals of the Supersonics and Jazz, Payton and Stockton met quite a few times in the regular season and the playoffs. For the most part, it was the duo of Stockton and Malone that came out as winners in most of those matchups. Payton always said Stockton was the only one that never responded to his trash-talking and antics, rarely showed any emotion while casually dropping 20 points, 15 assists, and 5 steals. That is why Payton tried to emulate Stockton’s playing style as much as possible in combination with his persona. He was constantly in other players’ faces, yelling and being absolutely obnoxious to throw them out of their comfort zone. He is the last point guard to win the DPOY award and is still considered by many the greatest perimeter defenders of all time.