Payton: As long as my jersey is retired in Seattle, it will be great


payton-looks-onFormer NBA All-Star guard Gary Payton said he’s not interested in having his #20 jersey retired in Oklahoma City. One of the best defensive guards in NBA history said this should happen in Seattle.

“It will be there sooner or later,” Payton said. “It could be years. If I’m 70 and they get a team, hey, so be it. It will be great just as long as it will go up in Seattle.”

It should be noted that Payton and power forward Shawn Kemp led the Seattle Supersonics to the NBA Finals in 1995-96, where they fell to the Chicago Bulls, who went on to win two more championships in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Payton, along with other NBA greats is going to get inducted into the Hall of Fame, and he’ll join the Class of 2013 Sunday at the ceremony in Springfield, Mass.

The new inductees, including Payton, will be presented by previously enshrined players or coaches, and Payton will be ushered in by Stockton and legendary NBA/ABA scorer George “Iceman” Gervin.

Speaking of Gervin, Payton said former San Antonio Spurs player was his childhood idol, since he was little.

“In Oakland I had all his posters on my wall. The Iceman poster where he was on ice blocks in that silver suit. He presented to all my other Hall of Fame stuff for retired jerseys at Oregon State and my high school,” Payton noted.

Payton, 45, shared other opinions, including his appreciation of Brooklyn point guard Deron Williams (“same mentality as me”) and Boston’s Rajon Rondo.

“He can’t score like I did but he does everything else like I did,” said the nine-time All-Star and No. 2 pick in the 1990 draft.

And the pesky, pain-in-the-rump playmaker known defensively as “The Glove” talked about his own induction speech.

“Everybody wants to know if I’m going to cry,” Payton told Yahoo Sports. “You know what? I’m going to be real with you. I don’t think I’m going to cry. But I got to stay away from watching my mom because if she starts tearing up … That’s the hardest mama in the world to make cry. If she tears up and cries?”

“I know Pops ain’t gonna tear up. If he does it, it’s just a bad thing. I’m just going to stay focused and look forward and try not to look anybody in their face.”

Payton enjoyed a successful 17-year NBA career, and he’s best known for his 13-year tenure in Seattle, where he established himself as one of the best defensive point guards of all-time.

Payton played 1335 games in the NBA (1233 started), averaging 16.3 points and 6.7 assists over the course of his career. He averaged over 20 points in seven of his 17 seasons, with his career-high average of 24.2 points coming in the 1999-2000 season.

The point guard reached three NBA Finals, appearing in one each for the Sonics, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. Payton finally got that elusive first ring as a member of the 2005-06 Heat.

Payton is currently a basketball analyst on Fox Sports 1, and he will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8.

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