Gary Payton Nearly Retired After Rookie Season
Hall Of Fame Class Of 2013 inductee, Gary Payton, recently surprised people with a revelation about his early career. After getting limited minutes, and not feeling he logged any meaningful time following his rookie season, Payton was contemplating stepping away from the NBA and actually retiring.
In an interview with HangTime, he the legendary point guard said he felt underutilized and was extremely unhappy.
“I was thinking about it,” Payton said in a phone conversation from his home in Las Vegas. “I was like, ‘What am I out here for? This isn’t even what I want to do. I’m not happy.’ I didn’t want to do anything….” [...]
That all changed when George Karl was hired along with assistant Tim Grgurich, as they worked with Payton to become the lethal two-way player that earned him a spot in the HOF.
Jones was fired 36 games into the next season and replaced by George Karl. And when that change included Tim Grgurich coming as an assistant, Payton would meet his destiny as one of the great two-way guards in history.
“If we wouldn’t have changed coaches,” Payton said, “I would have probably said, ‘Yo, you know what? I want to end this. I don’t want to do this anymore because I’m not happy.’ If they would have stayed with the same coach, I would have probably just shut it down.