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Gary Payton takes his era of point guards over today’s, calls him and Shawn Kemp ‘the original Lob City’

Sep 7, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT

Gary Payton AP

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Gary Payton is one of a dozen people being enshrined as part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend in Springfield, Mass. Leading up to this weekend, the Glove has made several noteworthy comments, which continued during Saturday’s press conference.

Earlier this week, Payton said that John Stockton was harder to guard than Michael Jordan, though, it wasn’t as outlandish of a statement when you hear Payton’s full explanation. However, on Saturday afternoon, Payton wasn’t asked about specific players, rather eras, and when it came down to points in the ‘90s as opposed to today’s lead guards, it wasn’t shocking who the new Hall of Famer chose.

“I like my era better,” Payton told reporters.

“Every time I went against a point guard, we just played tough,” Payton continued. “You had the Tim Hardaways, the Kevin Johnsons; a lot of them guys. I always thought about. I always liked my era because we can hand check, we can do a lot of stuff; we can control our teams. We didn’t have to score 25-26. We could get 17, 10 dimes and three or four steals.”

Payton cited the younger generation, the NBA lockout in 1999, rule changes and even the rise of the And 1 Mixtape Tour as contributing factors to how the point guard position and style of play has changed from his own era.

“It’s the way our kids are brought up,” Payton said. “You guys have to understand, basketball has changed.

“They had to build it up after the first strike. Basketball was down a little bit. David Stern did a great job of bringing basketball back because he knew kids wanted to see run-and-gun. They didn’t want to see defense like the Knicks were doing. Slowing the ball down, setting up defenses and stuff like that and running plays. Kids weren’t doing that in the playgrounds. So we sped the game up, and that’s what the kids liked. They liked to see dunking, they like to see running, they liked to see scoring and that’s just the way it went.”

The discussion of a fast-paced, dunk-filled style of play transitioned Payton into mentioning his playing days with Shawn Kemp in Seattle. Their alley-oops connection lives on in YouTube glory, which gave him the opportunity to remind the basketball world that there was an alley-oop combo before Chris Paul and Blake Griffin joined forces in Los Angeles.

“When people say Lob City or stuff like that, we were the original Lob City,” Payton said. “We don’t want to call it Lob City, we just called it Reign Man and the Glove.”

Although the game is different from Payton’s days in Seattle, that hasn’t stopped him from trying to revive his era in the new breed of floor generals, as he has been reportedly working out this summer with point guards such as John Wall and Damian Lillard.

The style of play Payton loved so much may be gone, but his accomplishments will forever hang with the rest of basketball’s greats following this weekend. The Glove completes his Hall of Fame enshrinement when he is presented as a new member by John Stockton and George Gervin at Springfield’s Symphony Hall on Sunday afternoon.

Follow @terrence_payne

  1. ranoversquarells - Sep 7, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    GP was always among my favorites. Congrats on making the HoF. If Springfield wasn’t so dangerous I’d drive there this weekend ….

  2. kingwithringz - Sep 7, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Don’t know about that Gary. Do you see how athletic Derrick Rose and Westbrook are? How flashy CP3 and Kyrie Irving are? I like the “Social Media” superstars better.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      Payton was easily better than those guys, with the exception of CP3.

      • sportsfan18 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:02 PM

        Way too soon to make the comparison between The Glove and D. Rose and Kyrie Irving…

        I mean Rose and Kyrie haven’t played even close to half of their careers yet.

        In 2022, you and many others might (I said might) rank The Glove behind D. Rose and Kyrie..

        I mean how many HOF players are NOT better than a guy who has only played 2 seasons or 3 and a half seasons like D. Rose has…

        Now, CP3 has played enough to make a comparison with…

      • adamsjohn714 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:09 PM

        Well yeah, I’m not saying they can’t get better and eventually surpass GP, but as of right now, they’ve not had the start to their careers to suggest they will do that. If I was to bet, I’d say they never will. But yes, it’s not set in stone.

      • 5xchamp24 - Sep 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM

        I’d say he was even better than CP3 because he was the glove. He could stop the opposing pg and some sg. CP3 cant d up anyone. CP3 might be slightly offensively better but I’ll take the lock down defense from my pg any night and leave the offense to the others. Defense still wins championships

      • adamsjohn714 - Sep 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        CP3 has never been recognized for any defensive ability. You’re right about that. Also, he’s never set an NBA steals record or done anything close to it…

    • louhudson23 - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:35 AM

      Athleticism does not equal skill or good basketball,just better highlights,which was his point….

  3. dls612 - Sep 7, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Dude was nasty when it comes to throwing it down! But guards of today are more creative when it comes to lob city! Remember Jamal Crawford and Blake? They would have never done that or even attempted to do that back in the day! It was more about basic fundamentals!

    • dls612 - Sep 8, 2013 at 6:20 AM

      Lob city in Payton days was off the backboard or a simple lob! Not leaping in the air putting the ball between their legs and the throwing it up!

      • 5xchamp24 - Sep 9, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        But in comparison, CP3 and Blake wont get to a championship because Blake is offensively challenged (dunks only). At least GP got to the chip and only lost it because everyone lost to MJ. who cares that Crawford put it between his legs. Thats for dunk contest not championships.

  4. sdemp - Sep 7, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    Basketball players in general were better in the 80’s & 90’s. There might be better athletes now, but that doesn’t constitute better basketball players.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 7, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      Well, in the past, there were more possessions per game. It turns out most of those possessions were turnovers, fouls, and missed shots. Players today are more careful with the ball, better perimeter shooters, and foul less often. I’d say the “basketball was better in the past” idea is a myth.

      • gettinbuckets513 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        I don’t know if there were more turnovers or not but I do know the defense played then was much more PHYSICAL. You need to do your research because the 90’s was the best decade starting with a guy named Michael Jordan and then Magic. I know Magic only played at the beginning of the decade but he took his team to the finals and was on the dream team. The top two players of all time played in the decade, not to mention Hakeem, Barkley, Ewing, Robinson, Mourning, Larry Johnson, Karl Malone and a host of other bigs. This era’s best big man is Dwight Howard ( Who is not a bad player, just not in those players class). This era has a bunch if small skilled guards who aren’t going to win anything as long as Lebron and Durant are in the league and healthy.

      • adamsjohn714 - Sep 8, 2013 at 9:47 PM

        I did do my research. That’s why I know for a fact there were more turnovers, fouls, and worse perimeter shooting. That physical play was exciting to watch, but it resulted in a litany of fouls, which are by definition mistakes. You can prefer those players all you want, and yes, many of them are all-time greats and would be fantastic in any era. However, I believe this era to be a better overall brand of basketball, with the average skill level higher than it was before.

  5. dgilet1 - Sep 7, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    All I know is this…if rajon rondo can beast in today’s game, Gary Payton, John Stockton, Tim hardaway, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Johnson, would all beast…not to mention Jason kids prime was in the late 90s and early 2000s. Kidd in his prime is just as good as any pg today. People act like these 90s guys were not athletic but neither was Chauncey billups and he did great in this era. And I would take all the PGs mentioned over Chauncey in his prime. Furthermore Gary Peyton would guard Derrick rose and russel Westbrook better than anyyyyyy pg today. People need to go and watch tape on these guys because I think people forget how good they were. People say the 90s PGs weren’t athletic but at the same time Kevin Johnson is the same guy that dunked all over Hakeem which probably no guard today would be physical enough to do

  6. dgilet1 - Sep 7, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    It was a much more physical game in the past so I can imagine if those PGs played in today’s game offensively they would be much more efficient and effective. It would be much easier for them to score. And from the shooting perspective guys may shoot more 3 pointers today but they couldn’t shoot a mid range jump shot if their life depended on it. But also if you back off of Tim hardaway or John Stockton from 3 trusttttt that that 3 pointer is going down

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:05 PM

      Stockton’s career 3pt percentage is 38.4%. And he took 2,202 in 1,504 games played. So, not really a 3pt. threat… I trusttttttt that he’ll make 38.4% of those shots.

      Tim Hardaway’s career 3pt. percentage was 35.5%……. Try not to just make stuff up next time.

      • gettinbuckets513 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:24 PM

        Stockton’s % is pretty good, anything close to 40% is a good %, Hardaways is decent as well, you must be young because you sound stupid!

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      yes, gettinbuckets, they are decent, though Hardaway’s is below average for a PG. But that’s it. They’re just decent. Nothing special. In fact, Stockton took so few 3pt shots that it wouldn’t make that much difference in his overall production even if he shot 45% from deep.

      • gettinbuckets513 - Sep 7, 2013 at 9:40 PM

        Who are you comparing them to exactly? Also, the line was deeper in the 90’s.

      • adamsjohn714 - Sep 7, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        I’m comparing them to all other PGs of today. They very well could have been the best 3pt shooters of their era, but the OP is about how they would fare today. The line was never any longer than it is right now. You’re just wrong about that. There was a 2 year period where it was moved CLOSER in the 90s, and they moved it back.

      • louhudson23 - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:38 AM

        His original point was the defense being played and how the game was called effected the shooting and scoring numbers….

  7. titansbro - Sep 7, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    I can’t even watch today’s NBA without puking in my mouth a little. And I’m only 32.

  8. touchdownroddywhite - Sep 7, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Watched a lot of basketball growing up just outside of Seattle. The Glove will probably go down in history as my favorite player ever.

  9. hatesycophants - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    Gary Payton was great, but he wasn’t as good as Isaiah.

    Also, you are a terrible writer. Wtf?

  10. dgilet1 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Kobe Bryant’s 3 pt percentage for his career is only 33 percent…does that mean Kobe won’t make a 3 pointer if you back off or that it’s not likely that he will make it? Reggie miller shot 39 percent ad Stockton shot 38 percent. Which is also higher than Kevin Durant and Derrick fishers career 3 pt percentage. Chris Paul for his career is at 35 percent. Russel westbrooks is 30 percent. Deron Williams is at 35 percent. So John Stockton is actually a great 3 pt shooter comparatively and I you back off of Tim hardaway he is just as likely to make it as deron or Chris Paul and more likely to make it than kobe from 3 pt line. If you are only looking at stats. I don’t know what your measuring stick is for 3 pt shooting but those are good percentages you knocked.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      My measuring stick is how many you make/miss. I don’t pretend to know how many someone might make in a practice scenario. If there is some website that tracks fictional makes/misses from 3pt. land, please post the link. I’d love to see where you’re getting this data.

      It doesn’t mean they aren’t good players, just that they weren’t noteworthy in those areas. Stockton was one of the greatest offensive players of all time, despite not using the 3pt. line to boost his efficiency like some other players.

  11. dgilet1 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Hatesy: I agree about Isaiah compared to Payton. To he honest I think Isaiah is the second best pg all time behind magic.

    • gettinbuckets513 - Sep 7, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      Magic, Big O, Isaiah…

  12. jbeagles23 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Payton could shut down any pg today

  13. dgilet1 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Tim hardaway shot a higher percentage than Kobe Bryant and the same as Paul and deron Williams. Leaving him open from 3 is probably not a good idea. And Stockton wasn’t a scoring pg in general he was very balanced but anyone who watched him play knows that he is a great 3 pt shooter. He just doesn’t take a bunch of shots in general being the assist animal he was. Hardaway was not below average for PGs. I haven’t even looked it up and I can almost guarantee you that the average for starting PGs in the nba is lower than hardaway by probably 2 percent over a career. (not counting guys listed as pg but really dont run the offense like mario chalmers or steve kerr). I feel that you may not have watched these guys play which is why you are saying this. As a bulls fan hardaway from 3 scared me and was a threat from 3 when we played the heat. Same with Stockton. Guys just shoot more 3s now adays in general I think. Back in the day there was this thing called a mid range jump shot that people were good at. Now it’s a layup or dunk or 3 pt shot. But those 2 guys were not guys you want to leave open from 3. To measure it by shots a pg takes shows where the nba is today. Your pg isn’t supposed to take a bunch of shots he’s supposed to run an offense. But don’t let that give you the impression these 90s guys couldn’t shoot

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 8, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      I have looked it up. The average PG shoots 35.6% from 3, so essentially identical to Hardaway’s career average. While I can appreciate you being “scared” of Hardaway shooting, I don’t have to logically follow that your fear means he’s a better shooter than he actually was. As a matter of fact, I can pretty much assume your fear had absolutely nothing to do with whether he was going to make the shot or not. What your entire argument adds up to is asking me to suspend reality and PRETEND that he was a better shooter because you WANT to remember him that way.

  14. dgilet1 - Sep 7, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    The way you talk about stats I really think you are allowing stats to judge rather than the players actual capability. Especially just looking at makes and misses. I remember that’s what Portland said about Jordan in 1992 and they left him open from 3 and he dropped 6 on them. More to the game than just statistics

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 8, 2013 at 11:21 PM

      Yes, we can all boil down Jordan’s 3pt shooting over his career to 1 game (I think he made 6 in just one half actually!). I wonder why MJ didn’t make 6 3s every game his whole career. Probably because he wasn’t trying, or didn’t care, etc. Certainly it couldn’t be the fact he was just not a great 3pt shooter…. Nope. Couldn’t be that.

      Hahaha a 1 game sample size. you kill me.

  15. sdemp - Sep 7, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Players today either can dunk or shoot a 3, travel & carry whenever they want, defenders can’t hand check, & the team concept of today’s basketball is an after thought. . . yet they struggle to score 90 pts with lack of efficiency.

    Good Nite.

  16. dgilet1 - Sep 7, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    In today’s game where you don’t have to worry about legitimate hall of game big men and they don’t allow bigs to stay in the lane via defensive 3 in the key, plus the fact that it was more physical and you could hand check in the 90s lead me to believe 90s guys would have an extremely easy transition if they played in today’s game. I mean did you watch 90s basketball or did you just research 90s basketball? Not knocking you if you did just do research if that’s all you had access to. But these guys were ballers, fundamentally sound, played smart, and were committed on defense also. Very balanced players. If you let them play in this soft flippers league with no real big men they would coast to 20+ ppg

    • louhudson23 - Sep 8, 2013 at 3:41 AM

      That is pretty much the situation…nutshell……

      • borderline1988 - Sep 8, 2013 at 9:49 AM

        What has really changed since the 1990s is the speed of the game. Decisions are made at a much faster pace, and I think many of the players from 20 years ago would struggle in today’s game.

        That being said, the stars and HOFs would be good in any era, just because they are so talented. I have no doubt that Magic Johnson would still be a HOF if he played in the 2000s, and Lebron James as well if he played in the 1990s.

        But the average plodding centre in the mid-1990s who liked to bang in the post would get eaten alive in today’s game, because help defense and ability to contain a ball-handler in pick and roll situations is key in today’s game.

        And tough PGs from the 1990s wouldn’t be able to defend as well b/c of the new restrictions, and b/c PGs are just way faster than they used to. No defender can contain Derrick Rose or Westbrook in a one-on-one situation, which is why it’s all about that defensive big who can help corral driving PGs into more difficult shots.

        Both Kevin Garnett and Patrick Ewing were elite defenders. But in today’s game, I’d rather have Garnett.

  17. dgilet1 - Sep 8, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    That’s a good point however I will say this. In the 90s the rules is what made it slower I believe. Sure defensively it would be harder for them but offensively if you can’t hand check those guys imagine what they would do. In today’s game no one can guard Westbrook or rose regardless but Payton would probably guard them better than any pg today could. Also jason Kidd was in his prime in the late 90s early 2000s and he demonstrated that he can beast in this era which tells me those guys we speak of would also beast(just a connecting point for discussion between generations).From a defensive standpoint think about this…in 2005 when the heat won the championship do you remember what Alonzo Mourning did? He was a manchild post all the healthy issues and well outside of his prime. What would a young Alonzo do? Now I can’t knock the kg vs Ewing argument because kg is an all time great and I actually agree. But defensively i would rather have Ewing, Robinson, Hakeem, Mourning, over Dwight chandler hibbert Noah Any day of the week any hour of the day. I mean Hibbert made Tyson chandler former defensive player of the year look like a child. It’s a myth that post centers would do poorly the fact is that there are very very few good ones left which is why a Roy Hibbert can look like a hall of famer in the playoffs. Imagine what Even alonzo mourning in his prime(who i already described as out of his prime with health issues beasted in the playoffs defensively in this era)would have done if Hibbert and joakim Noah did all that.

  18. lhollis74 - Sep 8, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    You’d have to be foolish to not realize the players of today are not collectively as a whole just a little better, with the exception of about 10-15 players at the elite level from the 80’s and 90’s. The reason being access to information and the ability to improve. Advantages that kids have today include things such as being able to look up your favorite players workouts through social media(google), and duplicate it in your local gym. Who doesn’t have a 24hour gym membership or something where they can play full court games, lift weights or practice everyday if they so choose, not as prevalent in the 80’s or 90’s as it is today, due to the recent health craze.

    • danmedsker - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      ask Kobe and Nash who played then and now

    • danmedsker - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      So Jerry Westisn’t a PG anymore….. The game changes and the players play different positions. Pre 3point line ,you had to have a good center or dominant front line. The best PG’s in that era scored and were leaders in asst’s Jerry West, Big O, JoJo White. Bring in the 3point line and how great would Fred Brown have been in his prime( he shot from outside anyway) 1st yr of 3’s he was the leader , as an old man. Where is Gus Williams? Iverson played PG 1/2 his career. Stockton is one of the only Playmaker first PG’s, besides Magic people talk about. O there was Lenny Wilkens leader in assts and scored. .
      Point being Gary was not typical PG at all,but he was awesome 1.5 guard…lol. His D is what made him a Hall of Fame member, guarding MJ, Stockton etc..

    • danmedsker - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      So Jerry Westisn’t a PG anymore….. The game changes and the players play different positions. Pre 3point line ,you had to have a good center or dominant front line. The best PG’s in that era scored and were leaders in asst’s Jerry West, Big O, JoJo White. Bring in the 3point line and how great would Fred Brown have been in his prime( he shot from outside anyway) 1st yr of 3’s he was the leader , as an old man. Where is Gus Williams? Iverson played PG 1/2 his career. Stockton is one of the only Playmaker first PG’s, besides Magic people talk about. O there was Lenny Wilkens leader in assts and scored. .
      Point being Gary was not typical PG at all,but he was awesome 1.5 guard…lol. His D is what made him a Hall of Fame member, guarding MJ, Stockton etc..
      HM Nixon Rondo , Hardaway,JoJo, Tiny and the Mayor o Sacto. 1.Magic 2. Big O, 3. IT, 4. GP, 5 Stockton, 6. Gus Williams , 7. Rose 8. West 9. CP 10 Wilkens
      As for whether players today are better than the 90’s…. The avg player is probably better, but the elite are probably comparable, Just look back to the ABA in the 70’s for all offense and 3pt shots.The Dr , Connie Hawkins, David Thompson I think could play today. Wilt Big O, MJ and Magic probably couldn’t … eh.
      Kudos GP!!!!

  19. skinsfanwill - Sep 9, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Exactly what make Chris Paul the best point guard in the league. He doesn’t score the most, he doesn’t win the most, or even won a championship, he doesn’t lead in assists, and he doesn’t lead in steals. He is the most overrated player in the NBA today. He is a good player, but there are several players I would take over him at the point guard position. Insert Rose, Westbrook, Curry, Parker, and Rondo. The Glove was one of my favorites ever. Chris Paul couldn’t wear his jock strap. And screw everyone that has fallen for that media hype man named Chris Paul. He hasn’t done a thing since he’s been in the league. Win something, then talk to me.

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 10, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      If you watch Chris Paul control the flow of the game, you would get it. Go watch the second half of Team USA’s gold medal win over Spain, CP3 was the best player on the court on a huge stage. He owned that half by controlling the flow at both ends. He does that a lot, but Blake or others get the points.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      He’s really efficient scoring the ball, gets a lot of assists while only turning the ball over an average amount, he’s an above average rebounder for a PG, gets TONS of steals, doesn’t foul often, gets to the FT line a lot and shoots quite well from there, and fouls less often than average. He’s pretty much great at everything with the exception of 3pt shooting. Find another guard who’s great at everything except one thing. They all have a lot of flaws, and Paul doesn’t.

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