A whole new level of defensive domination.
Payton played 13 of his 17 seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics and is the franchise's (Seattle/Oklahoma City) all-time leader in games, minutes, shots, baskets, assists and steals.
He earned his nickname, “The Glove,” for his defensive work against Phoenix’s All-Star point guard Kevin Johnson in the 1993 Western Conference finals. It actually was Payton’s cousin who came up with the imagery, saying “You’re holding Kevin Johnson like a baseball in a glove.”
One of the cockiest and chattering players while competing, Payton elevated his “trash talking” to an art form to get into opponents’ heads while fueling his own intensity. Technical fouls or not. “I'm always gonna be talkin',” he once said. “It's nothing personal, but it's at the point where if I change, people will say, 'Oh, he's soft now.' That ain't never gonna happen like that.”
Payton’s defense versus Michael Jordan in the last three games of the 1996 Finals is considered his masterpiece, though it came too late – Seattle already trailed 0-3 in the series when coach George Karl made the move. But the feisty Sonics guard physically and relentlessly locked up the Bulls star, who had averaged 31 points on 46% shooting. In the last three games, Jordan averaged 23.7 points on 36.7% shooting.
Traded during the 2002-03 season to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Ray Allen, Payton was reunited Payton with former Sonics coach George Karl. After appearing in only 28 games to close that season, Payton signed and spent one year with the Los Angeles Lakers, then was traded for 2004-05 to Boston. He spent his final two seasons in Miami, winning a championship with the Heat in 2006.