Aside from his undeniable basketball skills, the other thing most of us love about Gary Payton is his savage trash-talking. Throughout his illustrious NBA career, and even to this day, “The Glove” is delighting us with his loud but hilarious mouth.
Only 4 earned GP’s respect
Of course, Payton is not the only NBA star who could talk smack on the basketball court. But being arguably the best in that category, GP could tell who can join him in the trash talk Hall of Fame, and his fans are surely dying to hear what he has to say.
According to Payton, in his 16-year career, most of the players he destroyed with his trash-talking seldom clapped back. However, only four of them who earned his respect. And their names probably won’t surprise anyone.
“Well, whoever I went at didn’t usually come back at me,” Payton told Hoopshype in 2020. “Reggie Miller’s trash-talking was good, Michael Jordan’s was good. I only got to see Larry Bird twice in two years and he was hurt, really, most of the time. But when he did get on the floor with me, he had a lot of nice ones. He was a chatterbox and I didn’t really know he was like that. But he was! He was cocky and arrogant; he’d go at you and tell you where he was going to shoot it and tell you that he was going to shoot in your face, you know what I’m saying? Those three were the main ones, basically.”
“Then, Kevin Garnett got onto the scene and he would start with his talking,” he continued. “Those were the main ones. Those four guys were the ones who I really wanted to go up against because I knew there’d be some chatter back… It was one of them things. But it was them four that I really looked forward to playing against.”
Coaches knew better
Payton went on to reveal that, in reality, the four players he mentioned weren’t the only players who knew how to clap back. However, some of the other players who wanted to chirp back were stopped by their coaches because they knew it was GP’s game that would do the talking next. And they don’t want that to happen.
“Most guys wouldn’t say anything or, if they did, their coach would tell them to be quiet and leave me alone because they didn’t want to wake up the beast,” he boasted.
Trash talking has been a part of the game since it was created, and there’s no existing basketball rule in any handbook that prohibits players from getting under their opponents’ skin during games. In other words, we can run our mouths all day, but it’s always better if we can walk the talk like Payton.