Skip to main content

Gary Payton compares his inner circle to LeBron James' -- "I got them all cars, apartments, everything"

Gary Payton looks back on how he took care of his crew and uses LeBron James' example when talking about what he would've done differently
Gary Payton compares his inner circle to LeBron James'

Gary Payton compares his inner circle to LeBron James'

Instant wealth can be both a blessing and a curse. Depending on how you use it, it can change peoples' lives for better or worse. 

For NBA players, the sudden influx of money is the biggest challenge when transitioning into the pros. The lifestyle change becomes inevitable; some guys manage it well, others get lost in the process.

For the latter, there's a common denominator -- most of them become the victims of their inner circles.

Gary Payton's entourage

"You're not going to abandon your homeboys because you've made it," Baron Davis said via Sports Illustrated. "Let me get this straight: I'm in the NBA and making money, so I'm supposed to start kicking it at Yale and Harvard with Poindexter and Pender-puss? Nuh-uh. That's not me."

Most guys, especially those who came from nothing, feel the same way. They want to use the NBA money to make the lives of those around them easier. And that's a blessing. The curse comes in the form of bottom-feeders; those who seek support without an adequate return.

At the end of the day, all the power (and money) is in the hands of a guy whose name is on the contract. But the risk is big -- we've seen multiple examples of players' lives being ruined after keeping the wrong ones too close for too long. Fortunately, despite his decision to take care of his five-man crew, Gary Payton doesn't fall into that category.

"We had jacked off all our rookie contract. You're buying everything. You got all the Bentleys, you got all the cribs. I got five guys that roll with me every day; I had a posse. And I got them all cars, apartments, everything."

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Payton, whose Hall of Fame career secured him $104 million, kept his friends close after joining the NBA. He treated them like children without ever wanting something in return. Looking back on it, GP would do it again.

"It wasn't crazy to me," Payton said in his interview with DJ Vlad. "It was my guys that I loved. I grew up with them, and I told them to make them a better life to get them to stay out of trouble and doing that, because four of my guys, if I took them out, they would've probably been dead by now. Now, if I look at them all, they all got families, they had done something. My best friend Milton; we started a business together that's still rolling now. So we're fine."

Following LeBron's example

Unlike The Glove, some of his peers who had the same approach weren't so lucky -- Allen Iverson is the obvious example. All of them meant well, but it's the execution that ultimately matters.

It's important to remember where you came from; it's even more important to do everything in one's power to keep someone from going back. Regardless of the intentions, handing out money can be detrimental for everyone involved. That's why it's crucial for a player, as well as everyone in his inner circle, to come up with a plan. Payton used LeBron James' example.

"LeBron's crew got smart," Gary said. "They had a plan. They wanted to make an empire, and they did make an empire and they're still making an empire with all of them. I wish that our crew would've been the same way."

NBA entourages live on, but it seems both the players, as well as people in their inner circles, are smarter than ever. According to Payton, LeBron and his crew get the credit for it. 

"They learned from looking at our crew, and they said, 'No, we don't want to do that, we don't want to be that.' I wish other crews would've looked at that and seen that because they had all the tools like what his crew got, you just had to know how to do it," GP said. "But we were more into partying. And it wasn't working."

Cleveland Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal shoots against Charlotte Bobcats center Theo Ratliff

Shot blocker Theo Ratliff shares what he had to endure after defending Shaquille O'Neal

Ratliff explained the difference between being a center in the 90s and early 00s and today.

Miami Heat guard Ray Allen

“Being a 3-point shooter was never my focus” - Ray Allen makes a shocking revelation

Allen gave a great definition of greatness while explaining this statement.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton

Is Collin Sexton a victim of his own greatness or greediness?

Collin Sexton has the potential to become an All-Star but are the Cavs the right team for him?

Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal and San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan

Shaquille O'Neal explains what makes Tim Duncan the only big man he ”could never break”

Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Alonzo Mourning weren't as much of a challenge for Shaq as facing The Big Fundamental was.

Michael Jordan

Why Michael Jordan stopped going to church — ”It's more or less 'Well, Michael is here today, let's have him speak for us.'”

He may be Black Jesus, but Sunday mass is about Jesus of Nazareth. MJ got it, most people didn't.

New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd and Boston Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine

Brian Scalabrine credits Jason Kidd for turning him into the White Mamba

White Mamba was honest about the fact that without Kidd, he'd be out of the NBA in three months.