Payton selected to Hall of Fame
ATLANTA — Former Oregon State star Gary Payton is among seven people elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Joining Payton in the class of 2013, announced Monday, are former NBA star Bernard King, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, North Carolina women's coach Sylvia Hatchell, former University of Houston coach Guy Lewis, former University of Virginia star Dawn Staley.
The inductions will take place in Springfield, Mass. in September.
Inductees announced previously were Edwin E.B. Henderson, a direct elect by the Early African Pioneer Committee; longtime Indiana Pacers guard Roger Brown; Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, the leading scorer in Olympic history; Richie Guerin, a star for the New York Knicks in the 1950s; and Russ Granik, the longtime assistant commissioner of the NBA.
Nicknamed "The Glove" for his stellar defensive play, Payton was the No. 2 pick in the 1990 draft and averaged 16.3 points, 6.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 17 seasons.
He spent the bulk of his career with the Seattle SuperSonics but also played for the Bucks, Lakers, Celtics and Heat.
At Oregon State, Payton is the Beavers' all-time leader in points, assists and steals.
Payton will join Oregon State coaching legends Amory "Slats" Gill and Ralph Miller in the Hall of Fame, as Gill was inducted in 1968 and Miller was enshrined in 1988.
"It's an honor to be elected to the Hall of Fame," Payton said in a release from Oregon State. "It shows people respected my game. And it all started at Oregon State with Ralph Miller."
When Payton entered Oregon State in 1986 as a 6-foot-2, 170-pound guard from Oakland, Calif., Miller said at the time: "Gary Payton is awfully quick. He is an excellent penetrator and possibly is the point guard type more so than anyone else on the team. He averaged over 10 assists a game in high school, prides himself on the pass and, while he probably shoots just better than average, he can make things happen."
Payton told the Associated Press that Miller had a chat with him early in his Beaver career.
"I was an offensive-minded guy when I went to Oregon State and coach Ralph Miller pulled me to the side and said, 'You'll be one of the greatest defensive point guards ever, and I said to myself, 'Yeah right. I'm shooting every time I get the ball.'
"I got really good at it (defense) and started liking it and took it from there."
He certainly made things happen in his four years at Oregon State.
He led the Beavers to three NCAA tournament appearances, became the school's career leader in points (2,172), assists (938) and steals (321) and was a consensus All-American in 1990 when he was selected Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year.
"It's not a surprise to me that Gary is going into the Hall of Fame," said Jim Anderson who played for Gill, was a long-time assistant for Miller and the head coach during Payton's senior season in 1990. "He showed signs that he would be a great player when he came to Oregon State. But like any young kid coming into a program, he had to prove himself. He kept getting better and he definitely proved himself. He verified everything in the pros.
"With Gary joining Slats and Ralph in the Hall of Fame, it shows the longevity of three basketball minds. Gary helped Ralph get in the Hall of Fame and vice versa."
Payton ended his 17-year NBA career with the Miami Heat, winning an NBA championship in 2006.
He was a nine-time NBA All-Star and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, and was an All-NBA First Team selection in both 1998 and 2000.
Payton was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1996, becoming the only point guard to ever win the award.
He ended his NBA career ranking third all-time in steals (2,445), seventh in assists (8,966), eighth in games played (1,335) and 21st in points (21,813).
Payton was also a member of the 1996 and 2000 United States Olympic basketball teams that won gold medals.
"Gary Payton was one of the fiercest competitors I have ever seen on the basketball court," said Don MacLean, the Pac-12's all-time leading scorer. "His on-ball defense is legendary to the college and NBA game. I played against him when he was at Oregon State and had never seen a guy dominate a game from the guard position on defense and offense quite like he did, and I'm not sure I have seen one since. Payton had both a great college career and pro career and is deserving as anyone to be in the Hall of Fame."