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‘I hated him more than anybody in the NBA’: Gary Payton reveals only opponent whose head he couldn’t get into

© Troy Taormina | 2018 Jun 22

Gary Payton is considered one of the best trash talkers in NBA history, but there was one opponent he just couldn’t get to.

No it wasn’t Michael Jordan, who laughed at idea that Payton could slow him down during “The Last Dance” documentary. Payton revealed it was a player much smaller in stature when he joined Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks on Wednesday.

“There was only one guy who was like that and it was John Stockton,” Payton said on KNBR. “I hated playing against him, I hated it. I hated him more than anybody in the NBA at the time. Everybody knows me and him are like peas in a pod now, we’re real tight, and that’s because he did me that way. I used to talk to him and he’d just walk by me like I wasn’t even there, like I was a wall or something. Like ‘Do you hear me talking to you?’ and he would just keep walking and I’m like ‘This is so disrespectful.’ I always wanted to knock him upside his head for real, but I said I can’t do that cause I’m going to get kicked out of the game.”

Like Payton, the 6-foot-1, 175 pound Stockton is an NBA Hall of Famer. The two faced each other 70 times throughout their careers including during four playoff series.

“He was the guy I said ‘this dude is a robot, I don’t know what he is.’ It would just irritate me so much. I just kept watching film on him, I kept watching film on him, and I said ‘I got him. I’ve got to be like him. Don’t say nothing to him.’ And he was the only guy, every time I went into Utah which was the worst place to play, I said ‘I just can’t talk to him. I can’t say anything to him, I’ve just got to play him the same way.’ That was the way I did it, and he was the only guy I could never get to.”

Along with KNBR, Payton is partnering with Giving in Motion to raise $100,000 to provide food and basic necessities to families affected by COVID-19. Giving in Motion will match every dollar raised up to $50,000 to reach our goal. Donate here:


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