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Updated on February 8th 2023, 4:18:37 am

Gary Payton biography, stats, facts, and achievements

Gary Payton was a two-time gold medalist in basketball for the United States, winning at both the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. Let’s take a look here at his biography, stats, facts, and achievements.

Gary Payton was a two-time gold medalist in basketball for the United States, winning at both the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. Internationally he also won a gold medal at the 1999 FIBA Americas Championship, and a silver medal at the 1989 FIBA Americas, while he was in college.

Payton was a point guard who played in college at Oregon State University. While in college he was a consensus All-American in 1990, and a three-time All-Pac-10 selection. His #20 was retired by Oregon State and he is a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and the Oregon State Sports Hall of Fame.

Payton was drafted in 1990 by the Seattle SuperSonics, and played with them in the NBA through 2003. He then played parts of the next season with the Milwaukee Bucks, before moving around in his last few years. He played successively with the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat, before retiring after the 2007 season. Payton helped the Heat win the NBA title in 2006.

Payton was known as a defensive specialist, often called The Glove because he stuck so close to the player he was guarding. He was NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1996 and was named NBA All-Defensive First Team for nine consecutive years, 1994-2002. He also appeared in nine NBA All-Star Games, in 1994-98 and 2000-03. Payton was first-team All-NBA in 1998 and 2000, and was named to the second team in 1995-97, 1999, and 2002. He finished his NBA career with an average of 16.3 points/game, 6.7 assists/game, and 1.8 steals/game.

After retiring as a player, Payton did some television commentary work. He and his wife, Monique, were also well-known for their charitable giving endeavors. Among these was The Gary Payton Foundation in 1996, which provided safe places for recreational activity to help underprivileged youth in his hometown of Oakland. He also hosted an annual charity basketball game in support of the foundation.

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Gary Payton played 17 seasons for 5 teams, including the SuperSonics and Heat. He averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 1,335 regular-season games. He was selected to play in 9 All-Star games. He won 1 Defensive Player of the Year award and 1 NBA championship. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.

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  • He was nicknamed "The Glove" for his outstanding defensive ability.

  • Payton was the only point guard ever to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

  • He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defensive players of all time.

  • Payton is best known for his long 13-year tenure with the Seattle SuperSonics, and holds Seattle franchise records in points, assists, and steals.

  • He has also played with other teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, the last with whom he won a National Basketball Association (NBA) championship.

  • He was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times, an NBA record he shares with fellow basketball greats Michael Jordan,Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant. He was also a nine-time NBA All-Star and a nine-time All-NBA Team member.

  • Payton was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 8, 2013.

  • Regarded as the "NBA's reigning high scorer among point guards" in his prime, Payton is referred to as "probably as complete a guard as there ever was" by Basketball Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich.

  • Payton was born in Oakland, California.

  • Payton is well known for his trash-talk. His trademark open-mouth, bobbing-head style on the court (combined with his 17 years in the league) led to Payton receiving the third-most technical fouls of all time (behind Jerry Sloan and Rasheed Wallace).



  • NBA champion (2006)

  • 9× NBA All-Star (1994–1998, 2000–2003)

  • 2× All-NBA First Team (1998, 2000)

  • 5× All-NBA Second Team (1995–1997, 1999, 2002)

  • 2× All-NBA Third Team (1994, 2001)

  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1996)

  • 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1994–2002)

  • NBA steals leader (1996)

  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1991)

  • NBA 75th Anniversary Team

  • Consensus first-team All-American (1990)

  • Pac-10 Player of the Year (1990)

  • 3× All-Pac-10 (1988–1990)

  • No. 20 retired by Oregon State Beavers

  • USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (1999)

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