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"Okay, sure, I’ll shoot with my left!” - Gary Payton on the perks of being ambidextrous

The Glove is arguably the best ambidextrous player ever to play in the NBA
Gary Payton is widely regarded as one of the best trash talkers in NBA history, and Gilbert Arenas explains why he was so good

Gary Payton

With the ability to trash-talk his way into his opponent’s head, the God-given skill to set his teammates up, and his lockdown defense, Gary Payton, indeed, has a lot to be grateful for in his Hall of Fame career. However, all those are no longer relevant in his retirement life, except for one thing – being naturally ambidextrous.

Making the most of it on the court

As a basketball player, Payton knew there was no better place to make the most out of his ambidexterity than on the court. So, basically, that’s what he did throughout his NBA career. And, of course, it did him quite well for the better part.

Among Payton’s best left-handed plays of all time were his high-arcing left-hand bank shot on Dallas Mavericks’ Erick Dampier in the 2006 NBA Finals and that insane left-hand, between-the-legs pass just before he went out of bounds off a transition play against the New York Knicks. But more importantly, unlike most NBA players, whenever “The Glove” hurt his right hand, that left hand came in handy.

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“When I got the pros, I posted up on my left side all the time and threw up shots, scoops, hooks or whatever I needed with my left hand,” Payton told HoopsHype in 2020. “It’s just something that came to me and I was always happy that I could do things with both.”

It’s the same thing off the court

For a fun and outgoing person like Payton, being ambidextrous surely has a lot of use outside of basketball. In fact, he’s been savoring every satisfying reaction he gets whenever people see how good he is at performing random things with his left hand. 

For instance, “The Glove” said he once got people shocked during a Pop-A-Shot game in an arcade.

“When I play Pop-A-Shot in an arcade, people will say, ‘You’re right-handed, so only shoot with your left!’ And I’ll go, ‘Okay, sure, I’ll shoot with my left!’ They don’t read up on me! Then, after the game, they’re like, ‘Oh man, you’re making even more with your left!’ Then, I’ll tell them, ‘I’m kind of left-handed, if you think about it’,” Payton shared.

Having heard Payton’s stories, it’s quite interesting to learn that apart from being a Hall of Famer, an NBA champion, and a Defensive Player of the Year, Payton is also arguably the best ambidextrous player ever to play in the NBA.

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