Gary Payton II

GP2 details knowing ‘soft' Garnett as kid growing up around NBA

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Growing up with an NBA Hall of Famer for a dad, Warriors two-way guard Gary Payton II became accustomed to being around big-time players who were friends of Gary Payton Sr., also known as “The Glove.” 

When recalling memories of being a kid around some of basketball’s biggest stars, Golden State’s Payton shared a secret side to one Hall of Famer who was notoriously intimidating. 

On the latest “Dubs Talk” podcast with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Dalton Johnson and Monte Poole, Payton detailed his younger self’s fun relationship with Kevin Garnett.

“Growing up, I remember any time Minnesota [Timberwolves] came in,” Payton told Poole and Johnson. “[Payton Sr.] was really good friends with [Garnett]. Kevin would come over to the house after games and have dinner. Before games, I would go down [to the court] and mess with KG on his pregame. After the games, I’d go in and ask for an armband that KG used to wear. KG definitely stood out.

“I got the soft KG. There’s a soft, big teddy bear KG. I didn’t see ‘that side’ until I got a little bit older. I’d say, ‘Oh, yeah. He’s different.’ Shout out to KG, he always brings that intensity and that fire. I love it.”

While Payton cherished his time with “soft” Garnett, the NBA champion came across many other players due to the prominence of his dad.

The Warriors guard shared a long list of players he remembers hanging around during his younger days, emphasizing that he could share many more names if asked to.

“Vin Baker. Vin’s like an uncle to me,” Payton shared with Poole and Johnson. “We used to go fishing when my mom was pregnant with my brother. Detlef [Schrempf], Hersey [Hawkins]. Those were all of [Gary Sr.’s] teammates. Nate McMillan, Damon Stoudamire– [Jason] Kidd is like family, too. [Brian] Shaw is family. Big [Shaquille O'Neal]. Rest in peace Kobe [Bryant]. Kobe was around back then. I can literally go on. Bonzie Wells.”

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Payton’s relationships with his dad’s friends and former teammates are the ones the Oregon State product eventually faced in the NBA -- one of whom also is an NBA Hall of Famer.

“There are so many different guys, different dudes that I know," Payton continued. "And that’s always been a part of my journey. It’s crazy now. [Vince Carter]. I got to play against Vince and I was so hyped about that before he got out of here. Shout out VC and just so many guys in the league being able to play against my dad and me. It’s crazy.”

Payton has played 10 seasons in the NBA, always unfazed when suiting up next to the world’s best basketball players night in and night out.

Payton likely has his dad’s NBA experience and connections to thank for his calmness under the brightest lights, as he has been around professional athletes since he was a child.

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