Gary Payton II’s inspiring Warriors story of staying dedicated after quitting

Whichever team you root for, it’s hard not to respect Gary Payton II’s journey through the NBA system.

The son of nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton Sr., Young Glove’s journey has been very different from that of his father.

But even though Payton II wasn’t able to find the same success in the league as his father, that didn’t stop him from trying.

After going undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, Payton II joined the Houston Rockets for the summer league before being waived the following month.

Over the next five years, he bounced from team to team in the G League and the NBA.

His most recent landing spot was at Golden State, which initially started on a 10-day contract with the Warriors in April 2021, followed by another 10-day contract.

In May 2021, he was signed for the rest of the season and the 2021-22 season. Finally, his time had come and he finally had the opportunity he had so desperately desired all his life.

Until the plug is unplugged.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers had to announce Payton II that they were waiving him just before the start of the 2021-22 season.

“By then I was already numb to this type of news,” Payton wrote in an article published Friday by The Players Tribune. “I always assumed the worst. It was like a protective shell that I created for myself, think, so that I didn’t get too hopeful about this NBA thing. But still…something thing at that time was different.

Sure, Payton II was cut, but that didn’t stop him from recognizing the position he was in and doing what he could to take advantage of it.

After Myers broke the news to Payton II, his immediate response to the GM proved to be a direct reflection of his character both on and off the pitch.

“It was The Bay, you know what I’m saying? And I just didn’t want to move on,” Payton II wrote. “So I was like, Fk it. Yeah, I’m cut, but I’m going to stay here and train with the team, whatever.

“Ha! I didn’t even know if that was something that was allowed. But I wanted to stay on the team’s radar, to let them know that’s where I wanted to be. So after Bob m broke the news, I was like, “Uh, well, you know what though… can I still come tomorrow? And training with the team and just like… being around?”

Myers’ choice to accept was a game-changer for Payton II.

And even though he wasn’t part of the Warriors organization, his loyalty still rested with Golden State.

“Bob said I could hang out so I did,” Payton II wrote. “And I remember saying to my agent at the time, ‘Hey, if I clear the waivers and someone calls about me, tell them I’m really interested in getting back to the Warriors first. and above all “That was my whole vibe back then. Somehow I’m coming back to this team.

A few days later, Payton II finds himself in a room for a meeting that he will probably never forget.

“They call me in a meeting room and it’s like, ‘GP – we see you, man. You made the team. You got a spot on the roster. I’ll never forget that moment,'” he declared. “It was so good.”

Fast forward to a few months later, Payton II has become a crucial part of the Warriors roster in their current playoff run.

Payton II’s hard work and dedication earned him a spot in the Warriors’ starting lineup for Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies, until a broken elbow left puts a heartbreaking blow to his aspirations as a playoff hero.

After all the adversity, Payton II was finally where he felt he belonged – on the biggest stage in the NBA – and he was swept away in seconds.

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However, he refuses to lower his head and will continue to do what he has had to do his entire career: not to give up.

“I have no time to waste thinking about something bad that happened or feeling sorry for myself,” Payton II wrote. and being part of it all… I don’t take any of it for granted. I cherish every minute of it. I know how lucky I am.”

Payton II is progressing well in his recovery process and will be reevaluated on May 27, which is after a possible Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.

It’s unclear if we’ll see Payton II back on the court this post-season, but the Warriors can certainly live up to his motto after facing many ups and downs this season but haven’t given up and in return are two wins. . away from their sixth NBA Finals in eight years.

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