- Raiders training camp 2014: Dennis Allen in ‘love’ with his quarterbacks
- NFL training camp 2014: Tony Bergstrom ready to meet expectations
- NFL training camp 2014: Raiders have an admirer in Justin Tuck
- Dwight Freeney, Chargers’ linebackers look to improve pass rush in 2014
- Byron Scott has offer to coach Lakers, per report
- Chargers training camp 2014: Brandon Flowers ready to blossom with new team
- Raiders cut veteran Kevin Burnett
- Chargers open training camp on competitive note
- MVP performance a future glimpse of Ray McCallum
- Seattle Seahawks jerseys top NFLshop.com sales
Gary Payton explains why John Stockton was his toughest matchup
- Updated: September 11, 2013
He made the statement in an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears that he felt that Stockton was harder to guard because it was difficult for him to figure out the former Utah Jazz point guard because he did not use trash talk where as his matchups against Jordan were not as challenging for him due to fact that Jordan did use trash talk.
“Those battles were a little easier. I would have Jordan get mad at me and go back at me. He knew he was really talented and could do whatever he wanted to. But [Stockton] was more of a challenge to me than guarding someone that would talk back to me. When you talk back to me and say something to me it made my game go to another level. John was one who wouldn’t say nothing and you couldn’t figure him out. He’d keep going in the pick and rolls and he and Karl Malone would score a big bucket. At times I would guard Jordan and get him mad and into other things.”
Payton caught a lot of flack for his stance because Jordan is regarded by many as one of the greatest to play the game and as one of the most difficult players to guard.At the start of his Hall of Fame induction speech in Springfield, Mass. on Sunday, Payton made it a priority to defend his position.
““Everyone’s been asking me why [Stockton] is the toughest person to guard instead of Michael Jordan,” Payton said. “First of all, it’s my opinion. So that’s the way it’s gonna go.”
After he made that statement, Payton received many laughs and an applause which he followed with more reasoning behind his decision to choose Stockton over Jordan.
““[Stockton] is the only guy, when I got in the NBA and I wasn’t as good as I thought I was going to be for the first two years, I watched him,” Payton said. “And when I watched him, he’s a player that all kids should watch right now. I might have been more athletic than he was, but he did it the same way every night. Every night.
“For him to only play 32 minutes, come in and shoot the ball 12 times, make nine or 10 of them shots, shoot eight free throws and make seven of ‘em, and then have 15 assists and four steals, that’s the reason why he’s the hardest person I ever had to guard. And that’s why I respect him very much.”
He may be in the minority when choosing a player other than Jordan as the hardest to guard but ultimately it is Payton’s opinion. Rather than being criticized for his position, it should be a respected stance as he was a gritty defender that was selected to nine consecutive NBA All-Defensive First Team (1994–2002) and earned the nickname “The Glove” because of his defensive skills.
Defense was Payton’s forte so if he believes that Stockton was the most difficult player to guard than it should be left at that. There is no need to cause a ruckus over his decision.
Photo Credit: Nataniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP
Bob Garcia IV
Latest posts by Bob Garcia IV (see all)
- West Coast sports roundup, Week 30: Lakers hire Byron Scott, Kendall Hunter tears ACL - July 28, 2014
- Byron Scott the right choice as Lakers next head coach - July 27, 2014
- Carlos Boozer says Kobe Bryant told him to ‘come ready’ - July 26, 2014