« Artest obsession | Main | Hard to figure »

Payton's Place

Spent some time at the home of Al Payton, Gary Payton's father, on Tuesday.
Talk about keeping it real! Mr. Payton lives in the same 4-bedroom house in East Oakland that he bought in 1972. Gary says he'll be out of his element if he moves out, and the folks in the neighborhood love "Pops," so he feels extremely comfortable there.
I can't reveal too much info because I don't want to give away what I'm wriring for Friday's paper, but the Payton family is a great bunch, and it's so obvious Gary gets his confidence and his personality directly from his father.
I'll admit that when the Heat signed Payton, I thought it was a poor fit for this team, not only because of his style of play (I thought the team needed more outside shooting) but also because of his strong personality on a team that was headed by Shaq and Dwyane. But not only has Payton been terrific on the court after a shaky opening couple weeks, but off the court he has been nothing like his reputation would suggest.
He's extremely friendly with the media (probably the most reliable player on the team in that respect), he's great with his teammates and he's especially helpful with the younger players on the roster and with Jason Williams, as Gary promised he'd be before the season started.
The trash talking might make him look like a disagreeable person, but that's just part of his approach to the game... taught to him by none other than his father, Al.




Powered by TypePad