Retired NBA superstar Gary Patyon and longtime college/NBA coach Rick Pitino headlined the 2013 Basketball Hall of Fame class on Sunday (September 8) in SPRINGFIELD, Mass.
During the ceremony, “The Glove” recalled his inspirations, thanking fellow retired star John Stockton for being the toughest player he had to guard; he ran through thank you’s, including former coaches, trainers, teammates, and of course, his family. And, it wouldn’t be complete with some jabs. After all, Payton was known for his trash-talking, as much as his defensive prowess.
“Y’all talking about ‘Lob City’ with the Clippers, we was the original Lob City,” he declared, referring to himself and Supersonics teammate, Shawn Kemp. “Don’t forget. I am the greatest trash-talker of all time Reggie [Miller]. But, you know what? I can back it up.”
“I played hard because I wanted to win every time,” Payton said of his 17-year career. “It was all for my crazy love for the game.”
Payton finished his career as the only NBA player with 20,000 points, 8,000 assists, 5,000 rebounds and 2,000 steals. He’s also a one-time NBA champ (2006), the 1996 Defensive Player of the Year, a nine-time All-Star… and now, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Pitino started his career as a head coach in 1978 at Boston University… then took him on a journey to two NBA teams and three other colleges, all reaching the Final Four and two winning NCAA championships.
“Coaches don’t get in the Hall of Fame,” he said at his induction. “Players put them in the Hall of Fame and I’ve had a great journey along the way.”
Also inducted Sunday into the Hall were Bernard King, who averaged 22.5 points in 15 NBA seasons with five teams; North Carolina women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell; five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley; former Knicks guard Richie Guerin; former NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik; and Oscar Schmidt, who played in five Olympics for Brazil.