Gary Payton: “Hang in There Seattle Fans, The NBA Will Be Back”

Oct 28, 2009, 5:43 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:55 pm

The one and only Gary Payton joined me today, the day after another NBA season starts without a team here in Seattle. So why not talk to one of the most memorable players to grace this city?

We started our conversation by discussing his career, and I wanted to know what his most memorable nba g gpayton 195moments were – to which he replied, “The whole ’90’s, basically. Especially just playing with the guys I played with. Being in Seattle, where my career started, being an All-Star and going to the Olympics. But ’96 was probably the best year of Seattle ever. I can’t ever stop thinking about playing in Seattle and how enjoyable it was.”

He also thinks he could’ve won a ring in ’96 – if Nate McMillan was healthy. “I think about that all the time and I talk to my friends about that all the time. We all say that if Nate was healthy, it would’ve been a different series.”

He did, indeed, move on though, and he did, indeed win a ring – much to the disdain of many a Seattle fan. That didn’t stop me from asking him about it though. “That team was supposed to be all the hard-heads and a bunch of guys that wouldn’t get along with their team. Pat Riley brought all of us together. As we gelled together, we became one family and we went on that ride to win that NBA Championship – and that’s how basketball goes.”

He also discussed Shawn Kemp’s departure from Seattle, his relationship with George Karl and life after the NBA.kempandpayton

Then it came time to talk about the one thing weighing on my mind right now – I still can’t believe there’s no NBA team here, and Gary agreed. “It’s really disappointing. I think the fans are taking the heat for this more than anybody. Seattle should never be a (city) that doesn’t have basketball because the fans have been so great there.”

The Glove admitted he’d love to be a part of the NBA, should it return. “It just hurts, because I would want to get back into basketball and get back into it – in Seattle.”

But Gary does hold one glimmer of hope for all of you Seattle fans out there! He sends a message to all fans out there, “Keep hope – keep pushing forward and I think basketball is going to come back.”

We can all hope, can’t we? If you missed the interview in it’s entirety today, feel free to listen to it here, and tell me what you think below.

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