Could you possibly imagine the NBA without Gary Payton? Payton, who earned nine All-Star appearances and a 1996 Defensive Player of the Year award throughout his illustrious career, recently confessed to NBA.com that he considered calling it quits during his rookie season.
“I was thinking about it,” Payton said in a phone conversation from his home in Las Vegas. “I was like, ‘What am I out here for? This isn’t even what I want to do. I’m not happy.’ I didn’t want to do anything….
“If we wouldn’t have changed coaches (from K.C. Jones to George Karl),” Payton said, “I would have probably said, ‘Yo, you know what? I want to end this. I don’t want to do this anymore because I’m not happy.’ If they would have stayed with the same coach, I would have probably just shut it down. They would have tried to trade me or I would have told them I don’t want to play there anymore.
“I went to my agent, I went to my father, I just said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m good enough to play in this league. I’ve got a coach who wants to play me in the first and the third quarter. He has no confidence in me.’ They told me the same thing. ‘You’ve got to stick it out. You’ve got to be the guy who you’re supposed to be. You’re tough. You’re this.’ My father was like, ‘Are you crazy? If you quit, I’m gonna get in your (body).’ Stuff like that.”
On September 8, "The Glove" will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame after becoming the only player in league history to amass 20,000 points, 8,000 assists, 5,000 rebounds and 2,000 steals in their career. Needless to say, Payton was definitely good enough to play in the NBA.
[via Hang Time Blog]