Gary Payton on his famous trash-talking: “Nothing was off-limits. I said anything I wanted to”

Gary Payton on his famous trash-talking: “Nothing was off-limits. I said anything I wanted to”

His nickname is “The Glove.” He is considered to be one of the greatest two-way point guards in the history of the NBA. He is most known for his trash talking. Gary Payton is one of the all-time leaders in technical fouls in the history of the Association (over 250 of them), and this quote may explain how he got so high on that infamous list:

Nothing was off-limits. I said anything I wanted to. I talked about your mother, I talked about your father, I’d talk about your kids, I talked about your wives. I’ll say anything to get’em mad. During that time we weren’t as personal as these kids are now because they are more close to each other. During our time we weren’t friends. I wasn’t friends with Karl Malone, I wasn’t friends with Kobe,  I wasn’t friends with Micahel Jordan, I wasn’t friends with Scottie Pippen. So I didn’t really care about them at the time. As we got older and got out of basketball, we became really, really tight friends.

Don’t think this was just a pure talent game for him. The Glove would research guys he would play the next day to prepare for the game. His favorite targets were rookies; he saw a day on the court with him as a welcoming party to the NBA.

The trash talk was all-natural; he would just go with the flow. Sometimes, things would go too far. One time he was laying it into Lamar Odom. As he saw no limits, that day he spent a lot of time talking to his mom. What Payton didn’t know was that Odom’s mom had just passed recently before that game. His agent came to him after the game to tell him Odom was distraught and Gary immediately  went to the locker room to apologize.

Walking down memory lane, he pointed out Kidd (who always talked about Payton as a mentor) was scared of him. Steve Francis and Marbury also made that list. But, there was one guy Gary couldn’t get to. Not only that, he was scared of him. Out of all the players and tough guys he came across, the man in question was John Stockton.

John Stockton never said anything to anyone. He never said anything to me. When I go to him and say something about him, he just walked like he didn’t see me; like I wasn’t there. If I say something about him, anything, I cus…he would just walk away.

This was something that messed with Payton. Ignoring him was the one thing he couldn’t stand. He would eventually figure out the key was not to talk to him and all and just go at him and beat him with what he does.

The source of all this attitude and energy came from Payton’s father. His dad’s nickname was “Mr. Mean,” it was even on his license plate! He never complimented Gary; it was tough-love all the way. The ultimate lesson was respecting people around you and never thinking you are more significant than you are. The pivotal moment was in high school when Gary disrespected a teacher. His dad came to school and told him if he is so grown-up, he will be treated as a grown-up. He then slapped him in front of all his friends to discipline him. Gary said it was embarrassing more than ever and a lesson he would never forget.

The only place Mr. Mean allowed him to say whatever he wants? The basketball court and Gary did take it to the extreme. He developed a mindset that what happens on the court, stays on the court.

If it was my mother on the court, she’s not my mom at that time. Afterward, you are gonna be my mother. Right now you are my enemy ’cause I’m trying to win a basketball game.

All quotes are from “Fair Game” with Kristine Leahy