It’s all speculation right now, but some writers in the Miami area are predicting that Alonzo Mourning and, more importantly, Gary Payton could be headed for Del Boca Vista after the Heat were swept aside by the Bulls.
Well, if the Sonics are leaving town, it only makes sense for Payton to retire as well. In a perfect world, the Sonics would bring Gary back for one last season in Seattle before he calls it quits. Considering the 07-08 campaign is shaping up to be pretty dismal – what with the moving vans backed up to the Key Arena parking lot and all – would it really be that bad of an idea?
It’s possible the Sonics deal either Earl Watson or Luke Ridnour this summer. Mike Wilks was great in his short stint at the end of the year, but the Sonics could really use a guard with some decent size coming off the bench; why not Gary?
It’s a pipe dream, I know, but Payton remains the greatest player in team history (sorry, Paul, Ray Allen isn’t even close), and it would be a wonderful move for the fans to bring him back to Seattle, if, of course, he’d even want to play here.
But let’s say Gary calls it quits; what will he be remembered for? I don’t mean statistical rankings or playoff wins, I mean what will YOU remember about Payton?
Personally, the enduring images of Gary Payton are many:
-Backing down an opposing point guard the way an old man backs up his Buick – with a “I don’t give a shit what you think, I'm backing this thing up” attitude
-The gum chewing; nobody chews gum harder and with more intensity of Gary Payton
- The defensive posture; the way he cinches up his shorts before he got into position, as if to say, “Alright, motherf$)*#er, let’s go!”
- The way he backpedals down the court after sinking a 3, arms raised jauntily by his side, bent at the elbow, with the intensity of a spring training jog
- The trash talking – always the trash talking, especially when his head tilted slightly to the right as he talked, as if he was trying to get the words to move upwards
But most of all, the winning. Gary Payton – at least in Seattle – seemed to be about winning. It’s not something common to Seattle athletes; we are, after all, home to Edgar, Ray Allen, and Steve Largent. Classy men all, but you never associated in-your-face intensity and attitude to those gentleman the way you did with Gary.
Well, I could go on for paragraphs more, but let’s cut it short. Gary Payton might be retiring soon. What will you remember?