Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gary Payton: John Stockton was harder to guard than Michael Jordan

Gary Payton

On Sunday, former NBA star Gary Payton will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Until then, we can expect to hear a lot of stories and commentary from the man who was nicknamed "The Glove" for his excellent defensive ability.

For example, Payton recently told Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports that former Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton was the hardest player he ever had to guard in his career. Yes, even harder than Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.

Q: Did John Stockton ever talk trash back to you?

A: ”Never. That is the reason I really respected him because you never could get in his head. He’s the hardest person I ever had to guard. I tried to talk to him, try to do something and he’d just look at me, set a pick and cause me [to get mad and] get a tech. And then all of the sudden it was over. There was much respect to him doing that to me. It taught me a lot.”

Q: You say Stockton was the hardest to guard, but what about guarding Michael Jordan?

A: ”Those battles were a little easier. I would have Jordan get mad at me and go back at me. He knew he was really talented and could do whatever he wanted to. But [Stockton] was more of a challenge to me than guarding someone that would talk back to me. When you talk back to me and say something to me it made my game go to another level. John was one who wouldn’t say nothing and you couldn’t figure him out. He’d keep going in the pick and rolls and he and Karl Malone would score a big bucket. At times I would guard Jordan and get him mad and into other things.”

Obviously, trash talk was a big part of Payton's game and one that he apparently couldn't use against Stockton. So, it's easy to see why the nine-time All-Star found it difficult to guard Stockton.

Via Pro Basketball Talk

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