Gary Payton is a Hall of Famer, Seattle SuperSonics legend, and Oregon State Beaver, but above all else, he is Oakland, born and raised—just like Trail Blazer Damian Lillard. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype recently asked Payton about some of the similarities between the two point guards, including the grit and tenacity both players possess due to their backgrounds.
Yeah, I think we have a chip on our shoulder because of where we come from. You come out of the neighborhood and you’re always hearing about New York, Philly, L.A. and people say, “They’ve got the best basketball players!” You always hear that. I always said, “Well, why don’t you come down to the North. Come to Northern California! Let’s see what you can do here and see if you can do the same things you do everywhere else.” A lot of people come to Northern California and then they get these guards like us and they’re like, “Whoa!” But we’re not really pressed with all that. When you’re from this neighborhood, you go to different blocks and you go up against different players and we prove ourselves. I think we all have a chip on our shoulder and we want to prove everybody wrong. That’s what we do.
The interview with Payton also addresses his recent Monday Night Football promo with former teammate Shawn Kemp, bringing the NBA back to Seattle, and more.
You can read the interview here.