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Gary Payton on busting Horace Grant's head open with metal weight: "I didn't want to hurt my beautiful hands"

Horace Grant got between Gary Payton and Vernon Maxwell during their practice altercation and got the worst of it
Gary Payton remembers getting fined for hitting Horace Grant while with the Seattle SuperSonics

Gary Payton remembers getting fined for hitting Horace Grant while with the Seattle SuperSonics

"Me and Vern are the same," Gary Payton said about his former teammate Vernon Maxwell. "We did the same thing, we hung out the same way, and we clashed. When you have two guys who are the same, when they clash, somebody's gonna have to give."

GP wasn't ready to do it, and neither was Maxwell. So the clash inevitably happened, and somehow, Horace Grant got the worst of it.

"I tried to hit him with a weight"

Payton remembered the incident during his interview with DJ Vlad. According to the Hall of Famer, it all started during the team's training session.

"Practice went a little left," GP said. "Vernon was very upset about a lot of stuff at practice during the time. Then all of a sudden, me being a leader, I said, 'Let me guard him,' because I thought I could control him and settle him down."

Instead of settling him down, Payton only aggravated the situation. The two started exchanging barbs, and minutes later, a brawl broke out. Grant and Chuck Person put out the fire by pulling their teammates away from each other, but the whole thing was far from over. 

I just said, 'Just wait until we get into the locker room and we're gonna see what happens.' So I walked off the court and waited for him in the locker room and as soon as he got into the locker room, I tried to hit him with a weight. 

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Horace Grant as a collateral victim

Payton missed Maxwell and hit Grant instead. The former Bull once again tried to get between two teammates but wound up as a collateral victim of their scuffle.

"I didn’t want to hurt my beautiful hands," Payton said. "Then Horace Grant comes over, steps in and I accidentally hit him in the head with this weight, busted his head open."

The incident caused a backlash from the entire NBA community. But the SuperSonics decided to deal with it internally, without the involvement of the basketball public. The organization didn't want Payton to miss any games, so they decided to fine him instead.

Grant sat out the next game with a "bruised shoulder" but felt no resentment toward Payton. "Horace understood," GP said. "That's my guy too. Horace was like, 'Man, you crazy. You know you crazy.' I said, 'Horace, man, he ain't gonna do that to me.'"

Payton paid a hefty price for standing up to Maxwell. But looking back on it, he has no regrets. The two made up before their game against San Antonio and are still friends to this day. The same goes for GP and Grant.

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