A league-wide feared trash-talker, Gary Payton was so intimidating that most players ignored him so as not to overheat him. However, “The Glove” found 4 players who had the guts to answer him. And not least.
In the midst of names like Reggie Miller, Larry Bird or Kevin Garnett, we tirelessly find two initials when we talk about the best trash-talkers in history: “GP”. Gary Payton has indeed acquired a huge reputation in this area, by tirelessly provoking his opponents, without really setting limits. Besides, most of those who were match-up with him will tell you that they simply ignored him, so as not to feed the beast more.
However, some players made of a different wood have dared to go into the bacon of the legendary leader of the Sonics. Speaking to HoopsHype, Payton revealed which ones. And of course, these are very pretty names who had the guts (and the legitimacy) to go looking for lice in the Hall of Famer…
The only 4 players who responded to Gary Payton’s verbal assaults
Usually, the guys I trash-talked didn’t dare answer me. But Reggie Miller’s trash-talking was good, and so was Michael Jordan’s. I only got to play against Larry Bird twice in two years, and he was already diminished, but he had some really good punchlines. He talked all the time, and I had no idea he was like that. And yet! He was arrogant, pretentious, he told you where he was going to score from, that kind of stuff. These three are the main ones.
Then Kevin Garnett landed in the NBA and he trash-talked, a lot, a lot. So these four were the ones with whom I would know there would be some support. It was like that, it was our way of playing. So, I was particularly looking forward to playing against these four players.
Well aware of his power to intimidate, Payton knows that most coaches or assistant coaches gave a very specific instruction to their players before facing “The Glove”:
Most guys wouldn’t say anything to me, or if they did say something to me, their coach would tell them to shut up and leave me alone. They were afraid to wake the beast.
Except, therefore, 4 reckless Hall of Famers…
Gary Payton likes confrontation, especially when it comes from prestigious players who dare to rub shoulders with him. We would all have liked to be a fly on their shoulder during the lively verbal contests between these giants of our sport!