GP2 surprised with Bob Lanier Community Assist Award at practice


The NBA Finals aren’t even underway, but Gary Payton II is already collecting hardware -- and a cookie cake.

Following practice on Tuesday, Jayden, a local representative of the California grassroots movement Decoding Dyslexia, surprised the Warriors guard with the news that he won the inaugural Bob Lanier Community Assist Award. 

Jayden opened by thanking Payton for being a role model to kids with dyslexia before delivering the surprise award with cheers and high-fives coming from the entire team. Payton was visibly overcome with excitement, celebrating with the young presenter who then shared a dessert complete with the words “Congrats GPII!”

This honor serves as the culmination of Payton’s many years of advocacy for children with dyslexia. This year, he established the GPII Foundation with the goal of facilitating awareness about dyslexia and educating providers and administrators about how to recognize and support students with learning disabilities including early screening and detection. He also served as one of the key speakers at a San Francisco rally advocating for universal screening of dyslexia. 

Payton’s commitment to children with dyslexia is personal, having been diagnosed with it himself in the second grade. Dyslexia – a language-based learning disorder that results in difficulty reading and understanding how letters and words relate to each other – is said to affect up to 20% of people. 

Much of his childhood was spent learning how to adapt and understand how he best retains information, a practice that proved useful as he navigated the NBA. 

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Payton entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016, playing with the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He made his NBA debut the following season with the Milwaukee Bucks before bouncing around the league for the next six seasons. After initially being cut from Golden State at the beginning of this season, Payton reportedly felt like he was running out of options, even considering applying to work with the team’s video development department, eager to remain around basketball in any capacity. Golden State re-signed him in October, paving way for a breakout season that included career-highs in nearly every category and two postseason starts. 

The award, previously known as the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award, was renamed in honor of Bob Lanier, who died on May 10. Lanier, an eight-time NBA All-Star, served as an NBA Cares Global Ambassador from 2005 until his death, partnering with programs that supported education and children.

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