Gary Payton was known for his tremendous ability to entirely run the offense while guarding the best player on the opposing team. Payton is still the only point guard to win the DPOY award, and he did by playing intelligent basketball, driving other players crazy with his antics and mind tricks on the court. During his career, he was recognized around the league as the biggest trash talker in the NBA. He would talk to other players, referees, fans, and sometimes only to himself.
His behavior got him into problems with several coaches during his career, especially those who were critical of his game at the beginning of his career. Payton always used his witts to get out of various situations and sometimes even tried to embarrass his coach in public.
“He gets on you, and he says things that get you upset. That is the way it goes. But during times, coaches can say anything to us, and we wouldn’t take it personally. What I would do, I would try to upstage him. I will try and make him look like a fool because he is talking bad about me. When I do something special and make him win, I look at him with a big smile, and just turn around and walk away. That is when the relationship got to a point he didn’t say anything to me.”
Payton said times have changed and that coaches and players had a more natural relationship with each other during his playing days. Nothing was taken too personal while nowadays, there are often cases where some All-Star players influence requesting that a coach is fired if they don’t get along.
Young players need to understand those unnecessary arguments with coaches can backfire on their careers, almost the same way Payton experienced it during his first two years in the NBA.