Yesterday, Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton visited his high school alma mater Skyline High School in Oakland. As announced Payton and Oakland A's officials made a donation to the school's baseball team.
The special occasion brought up the memories on Payton’s childhood and teenage days he mostly spent playing basketball on the Oakland street courts, something he, together with Jason Kidd, addressed in 2000 during the NBA All-Star weekend in Oakland, California.
Payton, who was already at Oregon State University heard the word about Kidd’s limitless basketball potential already in the late 1980s from his late father Al ‘Mr.Mean’ Payton.
In the years that followed two future Hall-of-Famers spent countless times scrimmaging and practicing together at Skyline High or College of Alameda gyms and outdoor courts.
As already established Oregon State Beavers (NCAA) and later Seattle Supersonics guard Payton played some of his the most intense battles against Hall-of-Famer Jason Kidd, who is also a native of Oakland.
Payton, who was five years older, never gave up one inch to the already grown 6’4’’ Kidd, Bay Area high school basketball phenomenon who, in the dawn of 1990s, also scrimmaged with the members of the legendary Golden State Warriors Run TMC - Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin.
How good was Kidd? Payton claims that back then 6'4'' Kidd was the LeBron even before LeBron himself!
But, it was the rough battles with one of the best 1990s NBA defenders, The Glove, who often made Kidd to even consider quitting basketball career, who made future NBA star much more tougher and aggressive.
"When I first got him, he was one of those soft little kids. I put the ghetto in him." - Gary Payton
source: The Associated Press
Kidd, who shared 1994-95 NBA Rookie of the Year with Grant Hill, his 2018 Hall of Fame classmate, is the NBA player who made an unbelievable 17 consecutive postseason appearances in a row, starting in 1996-97 with the Suns, trailing only to Stockton and Malone who have 19 of those.
Payton career highlights include two Olympic gold medals (1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney) and NBA championship ring he won with Miami Heat back in 2006. The Glove became one of the most recognized faces not only in the Sonics history, but also in Seattle as a town, leaving it in 2003, after an unbelievable 13-year long sting with the team.
All together, including postseason, Kidd appeared in 1549 NBA games while Payton trails with the total of 1489. Today, both of these Oakland basketball legends are Naismith Hall of Fame members.
Murray A. a.k.a. Marjan Crnogaj is a BN contributor. The 1980s and 1990s basketball specialist is also proud to be the author of the TOP 100 basketball biography ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon’ ('Drazen - Godine Zmaja') which reveals the yet untold details from the life and career of the legendary NBA shooting guard Drazen Petrovic.
He resides in Zagreb, Croatia, working on his third book which tells the untold story of the 1989 Green Card Five.