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"My dad told me I was a sorry-as* basketball player" - Gary Payton II opens up about how The Glove used to critique his game

This was how Gary Payton raised his son and perhaps a depiction of how old school professionals harshly pushed the next generation to get the best out of them.
Gary Payton on having two sons named "Gary" 5 months apart

Gary Payton and Gary Payton II

In high school, Gary Payton II didn't have high hopes of making it to the NBA. Unlike his father, Gary Payton, he used just to play basketball as a pastime and kept his primary focus on academics and playing different sports.

At that time, nobody paid attention to Payton II despite being the son of an NBA Hall-of-Famer, so The Glove went out of his way to harshly critique his son's game.

Tough love from The Glove

According to Payton II, his father was his first and most prominent critic who often discredited his basketball skills. Payton II recently admitted that his father even went as far as threatening him not to pay for his education just because he perceived his son as a horrible basketball player growing up. This was the moment that motivated Payton II to prove his dad wrong.

"And then one summer, my dad told me I wasn't a good basketball player," Payton said on a recent episode of the "Truth and Basketball" podcast. "Ha, he told me I was a sorry-as* basketball player … And he told me to get a job or get a scholarship because he wasn't going to pay for me to get to school," Payton II added.

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Fathers being tough on their sons isn't something we haven't heard before. Although notably, this was how The Glove raised his son and perhaps a depiction of how old school professionals harshly pushed the next generation to get the best out of them.

According to Payton II, his dad wanted him to take the same route he did: to get drafted and be an integral role player for an NBA team — something that Payton II didn't achieve years after climbing the ladder.

Different routes but the same achievement

Unlike his dad, Payton II had to work his way up in the league. He made up for the lost time training with professional basketball trainers for years up to his two seasons at Salt Lake Community College in Utah. Then, he spent two years playing college basketball at Oregon State before signing up for the 2016 NBA Draft, where he went undrafted.

It was the Houston Rockets who believed in Payton II first, as they offered him a contract but eventually didn't retain him. The Warriors took a second chance on Payton II by offering him back-to-back 10-day contracts, which then escalated for the rest of the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons. At the beginning of last season, the Warriors cut Payton II from their roster but saw how dedicated and motivated he was to stay and prove his worth.

"I used to try to tell him 'Your road and my road are completely different.' He doesn't understand my road, and I don't understand his road because he went No. 2, and I went undrafted. I had to go through G League, and get cut multiple times. They gave him the time and the patience to be him. And there's some things he didn't understand going through my journey," Payton said.

As it turns out, the Warriors did the right thing by investing in Payton II and giving him another shot. He turned out to be an integral role player for their championship run and just like his dad, became one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.

Today, Payton is signed with the Portland Trail Blazers on a 3-year $26,145,000 deal — the largest contract of his career. Safe to say that Payton II did indeed prove his dad wrong and defeated the "sorry-ass basketball player" allegations. 

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