GP2 unbothered by MJ’s Gary Payton ‘The Last Dance’ comments originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Just like the rest of us last year, Gary Payton II was locked-in on watching «The Last Dance» documentary about Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls. The sixth episode of the eight-part doc had a special place for the Warriors guard, too.
His father, Gary Payton, who is a Hall of Fame point guard, was front in center for the episode as his Seattle SuperSonics faced Jordan and the Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals. Then came the meme.
As Jordan watched Payton explain he believed the series flipped when he started guarding the Bulls legend, MJ gave a confused look, tilted his head back and began frivolously laughing.
«A lot of people backed down to Mike, I didn’t,» Payton said. «I made it a point, I said, ‘Just tired him out. Tire the f–k out of him. You just got to tire him out.’ And I kept hittin’ him and bangin’ him and hittin’ him and bangin’ him. It took a toll on Mike. … And then, the series changed.»
Jordan, to no surprise, disagreed.
«The Glove … I had no problem with The Glove,» Jordan said of the elder Payton. «I had no problem with Gary Payton. I had a lot of other things on my mind.»
On Wednesday morning, the younger Payton was asked about Jordan laughing and his comments regarding his father. To him, it’s all good.
«No, I know the battles between them,» Payton II said on 95.7 The Game’s «Morning Roast.» «It’s so much respect between them. But on the court, you got a job to do. Between those line, we ain’t got no friends. I know they got so much respect off the court.
«It is what it is, it went down how it went down.»
The Bulls took a three-games-to-none lead on Seattle before Payton began guarding Jordan all game long. Jordan was averaging 31 points per game before Game 4, but shot just 31.6 percent from the field while scoring 11 of his 23 points from the free throw line in a Game 4 loss. He scored 26 points in Game 5 but the Bulls again lost.
They beat the SuperSonics in Game 6 to end Payton’s season and give Jordan his fourth championship.
Payton II was signed as the Warriors’ 15th player on a non-guaranteed contract the day of the season opener this year, and has exceeded expectations. Like his father, he’s a defensive star and can put up points when needed. He has a 94 defensive rating on the year, and is a plus-8.5 in plus-minus.
While the younger Payton doesn’t get the recognition his father did, just like Jordan’s comments didn’t faze him, neither do offensive stars for opposing teams.