You don’t need me to recount Gary Payton’s NBA credentials, but let’s go over a few things anyway just for fun. He was a nine-time All-Star and has the record for nine straight first-team All-Defense selections. He was an NBA champion with the Heat in 2006 and is one of the all-time great defenders at the point guard position.
For the past couple of seasons, before it shut down during the pandemic in 2020, Payton has brought his basketball savvy as a coach in the BIG 3 and, to no surprise, won the award for Trash Talker of the Year. He’s additionally served as an astute analyst for Turner. Now, it appears Payton is ready to take his coaching experience to the next level.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, The Glove wants to coach in the NBA.
“I have had conversations in the past about coaching, but the timing wasn’t right. I believe I now am ready to coach,” Payton told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview Thursday night. “A lot of young NBA players are a voice away from reaching their true potential. I would like to join an NBA staff where I can help coach, mentor and guide players toward the hard work, focus and determination needed to become a reliable contributor to a team’s success.”
Payton certainly wouldn’t be the first former player to make the transition into coaching. Most recently, the Nets made the high-profile and somewhat controversial decision to hire Steve Nash for the head coaching gig, despite him not having any real experience on an NBA bench.
Payton’s experience could be a huge benefit to up-and-coming point guards. His tenacity as a defender and his savvy as a floor general could translate into a key mentorship role. Now that he’s tossed his hat into the ring, it’ll be interesting to see what opportunities might come calling.