Skip to main content

Just 7 months ago, Gary Payton II was applying for a video coordinator position with the Golden State Warriors

Young Glove is not in the NBA because of who his father is - quite the opposite.
Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II

Gary Payton II

When your dad is Dell Curry, Mychal Thompson, Doc Rivers, or Gary Payton, everyone assumes you didn't have to work as hard to get a chance in the Association. While having an NBA dad has its perks, the extra burden of proving you really belong is something that shouldn't be overlooked. The sons that make it have one thing in common - their dads made sure they stay humble. Gary Payton II's story shows it best. 

Video coordinator

When talking about his biggest regrets, naming his son LeBron was, well, LeBron's biggest regret. No wonder the young fella told everyone he's going with Bronny - that's a big burden to carry. Gary Payton put the same burden on his son's back, and it only made him stronger - he had big gloves to fill.

If there's one NBA dad you know who didn't let his son cut any corners and made sure he earned everything he had, it's Gary Payton. No doubt he shared all his secrets with the Young Glove, but it was still up to him to earn his place - and it was an uphill climb for the young fella. 

For five years, Gary Payton II was in the G-League. He was cut from teams four times in the past six years. And when the same fate was facing him with the Golden State Warriors, he took it on the chin and was willing to do anything to stick around and maybe get another chance. 

The Warriors had an opening in the video coordinating department, and Payton II was humble enough to ask assistant coach Jama Mahlalela about applying for that position. 

"I was dead serious. If I get cut, I'm going to audition for that job. ... I was just trying to stay around. I'd still be around the game, I could still help, travel whatnot. And then figure it out from there."

Gary Payton II, ESPN

Mahlalela talked to Gary about what it takes to work in the video department, “a willing learner, someone who can get on the court still and play.” Without hesitation, the Young Glove said he'll do it. Fortunately for him, the coaching staff had other plans. 

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

“I'm like, 'Gary, I'm not letting you do that. There is no chance in the world you are going to do that. You are playing for this team.'”

Jama Mahlalela, ESPN

Four days later, Payton II found out he had earned the final, 15th spot on the Warriors roster. Seven months later, he's playing double-digit minutes in the Playoffs for a team that's looking like a title contender. 

Earned his keep

In the ESPN story, Kendra Andrews takes us back to his childhood, when Gary Payton II was a kid struggling to read. After he was diagnosed with dyslexia, his struggle started to make sense. One other thing you need to know about young Gary - he didn't want to do anything with basketball. 

I wanted to get away from the sport because of who my dad is, living up to the hype, whatever," Payton says. "I just didn't want to deal with it."

As it turned out, just like his father, Young Glove is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. The first thing you notice when watching him play is relentless tenacity - we know where that came from. But that's not enough to be an elite defender. Gary's secret is simple. 

While coming to grips with dyslexia, Gary figured out he picks things up a lot quicker if they are presented to him in visual form. In school, he would often ask teachers “for the concepts to be written out so he could see them.” For him, seeing is much better than hearing. No wonder basketball felt natural to him.

“Watching basketball, I mean, you can see it. You can see what works and what doesn't. It's a really big help. I think it's easier for me to visualize something and then apply it to my game than the other way around. I try to watch as much film as possible.”

Gary Payton II, ESPN

The struggle he overcame in school taught Payton II not to take anything for granted. Instead, it gave him the humility to apply for a video coordinator position. 

But as fate would have it, the persistence it took to overcome dyslexia also made him great at watching film. Sounds like a great quality for a video coordinator. Fortunately for Payton II, the Warriors had other plans. 


Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky outearns several NBA players

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky is closer to making a million each year than some NBA players on minimum contracts.


“I know he’s a great locker room guy!”- Ben Wallace believes Darvin Ham will do great things with the Lakers

Darvin Ham and Ben Wallace won a title together and their bond will forever remain tight.

Reggie Miller doing the choke sign

Reggie Miller on talking to New York Knicks fans: 'They love to come up and do the choke sign. They think it’s so cool'

Reggie Miller said most Knicks fans still hate him and they let him know about it by doing doing his iconic choke taunt in 1995.

Michael Jordan more popular than Al Gore, Chelsea Clinton: Sesame Street poll

"I couldn’t do anything!" - Michael Jordan once named the only player he couldn't dominate

Michael Jordan loved the competition and he often dominated his rivals. But shockingly, he wasn't able to do so against one player.

The first time Larry Bird and Magic Johnson matched up in the NBA

Larry Bird pointed out his similarities with Magic Johnson: 'We were winners, there was no question about that'

Larry Bird talked about what he thinks were his similarities with his ultimate rival Magic Johnson.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar calls out Kyrie Irving

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar blasts Kyrie Irving for sharing an Alex Jones video: "Kyrie Irving would be dismissed as a comical buffoon if it weren’t for his influence"

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was incensed after Kyrie Irving’s deliberate attempt to sow misinformation and spread conspiracy theories among those who look up to him.

Grant Hill recalls competing against the original Dream Team

Grant Hill recalls beating the original Dream Team in a scrimmage game: "We already knew that no one would believe us if we told them"

Grant Hill reflects what it meant for him and other college players when they actually beat the original Dream Team before the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona in a scrimmage game