Rooting warriors, college coaching and small business funding keep Gary Payton very busy
Rooting warriors, college coaching and small business funding keep Gary Payton very busy

It’s been a busy time for retired Hall of Fame point guard Gary Payton, who may be 53 but remains about as active as he was during his playing days. coach at a small school in his hometown of Oakland, lincoln university, and continued to be active in the business community, where he runs a three-year-old marijuana business, CannaSportas well as concerts conducted by telephone and radio companies.

Oh, and he remains an avid fan of the NBA, especially the Warriors, the team his son, Gary Payton II plays for. Golden State is preparing for its postseason series against the Nuggets, which may or may not include the injured Stephen Curry (foot), at least to open the game.

“The only thing the Warriors have trouble with is getting back to the stars and getting into basketball condition,” Payton said. “Curry has missed 12 games and it’s going to be tough to come back in the playoffs and try to figure it out. But I hope he can. And the others, I hope they’ll all be ready.

But the business side of his life also occupied Payton’s mind. He noted that the companies he has been involved with have all been impacted by the pandemic and stressed that he was lucky to have enough money to keep his efforts afloat during a difficult time for small businesses. He knows that most companies don’t have that luxury. With that in mind, he said, he partnered with the NBA and Hennessy’s to award grants nationwide minority-owned businesses in difficulty.

“You know, I’m excited because what we’re trying to do is get small businesses back on their feet with black, Latino and Asian American owners, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Payton said. . “They’ve been doing it since 2020. They gave $5 million and now we’re right back and with the NBA we’re giving $2.5 million in small community loans, and that’s good for them. The pandemic has arrived, we did not expect it. Nobody did.

“So all these small businesses, who put all their money into this, and they’re still stuck. I walk around downtown Oakland, CA and see businesses, they are still boarded up. So we’re trying to get people back on their feet. That’s what we’re going to do. They wanted me to do this because they know I’m someone who does this for my community all the time, it’s my thing.

College Job, George Karl is part of Gary Payton’s 2022

Payton certainly didn’t need to get involved in coaching at Lincoln either, given that it’s a small inner-city school of about 500 students. He sees it as a way to help the East Bay community, even if it’s not always an easy gig.

“It’s a new generation,” he laughs. “A lot of young people come in and think they’re privileged. So you have to stick with that and try to manage it, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

Fortunately, the name “Gary Payton” goes a long way among Lincoln players. Or, at least, with their parents.

“That’s where I get players, that’s where I get them to play for me,” Payton said. “Parents are the main key. You want to play, play for Gary Payton, that’s the big deal. For the parents, at least. I’m really good with it. Then when I get them, they just want to learn how to play basketball the right way, and that’s good for me and good for them.

Payton also had the pleasure of serving as an elector for inductions into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame this year, and didn’t shy away when his former coach, George Karl, appeared on the ballot. Payton and Karl had a few battles during their time together in Seattle, and briefly in Milwaukee, but nonetheless emerged with a close friendship.

“I cast my vote for my coach, I’m just really happy, he deserved it, his numbers say he deserved it,” Payton said. “You deserve everything he’s done. He’s the one who started me, he brought my second dad, Tim Grgurich, into my life, he made me better. George made me a better basketball player, we won a lot of games in eight years. He made me the basketball player that I was. who in my life is getting better. Me Sean better. makes me a better basketball player. I’m very happy for him, he deserves it.

When Karl is inducted into the Hall this summer, Payton will be there. It’s all part of a busy year.


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