According to NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper, former SuperSonics, Bucks, Lakers, Celtics and Heat guard Gary Payton will be announced as one of the newest members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday. Payton, who retired in 2007 after 17 years in the league, won a championship ring as a member of the 2005-06 Heat. He was a nine-time All-Star, he appeared nine times on the All-Defensive team and also won the Defensive Player of the Year Award (a remarkable achievement for a lead guard) while working for his 1995-96 SuperSonics team.
That Seattle team won 64 games and made it to the NBA Finals before losing in six games to the 72-10 Chicago Bulls. Of Chicago’s 13 losses that season, regular season and playoffs included, Seattle beat the Bulls three times — more than any other team. With all due respect to Shawn Kemp’s offensive exploits, the defensive-minded Payton may have been the best player on the best team of the 3-point era to not win a championship.
We will have more coverage on GP’s career and induction in late summer, when he takes to Springfield.