You've definitely seen at least one of his highlights this season, and you may know the NBA lineage he descends from, but who exactly is Gary Payton II, the 28-year-old guard that has Warriors fans excited this season?
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Gary Payton II was born in Seattle, Washington on December 1, 1992, the son of Hall-of-Fame point guard Gary Payton, aka The Glove.
His father was a member of the Supersonics at the time. He split his high-school years between Spring Valley High in Las Vegas and Westwind Prep in Phoenix. He spent two years at Salt Lake Community College before finishing out his college years at Oregon State.
He stands at 191 centimeters, or 6-foot-3, and weighs 195 pounds.
Payton II played two seasons at Salt Lake Community College, helping the squad win the Region 18 Championship and outright SWAC title in 2013 as a freshman. As a sophomore, Payton II averaged 14.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.9 steals per game earning him Second Team NJCAA Division I All-American and was voted 2014 Region 18 Co-Player of the Year and Region 18 Tournament Most Valuable Player. After his sophomore season, however, he transferred to his father's alma mater Oregon State.
As a Beaver, Payton II made the record books as the second Oregon State player to record a triple-double in a game as he dropped 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists on Grambling State - the only other Beaver to record a triple-double in a game? Gary Payton Sr.
Just like his famous father, Payton II earned a reputation as a tenacious defender. In 2015 Pac-12 coaches voted Payton to the All-Pac-12 First Team, All-Pac-12 Defensive Team, and named him the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
After two seasons with Oregon State, Payton II decided to enter the 2016 NBA Draft.
Payton II went undrafted in 2016 and his journey to the NBA hit a bump in the road.
He joined the Rockets Summer League team and appeared in six games before being waived. Not long after he signed with the Rockets' G-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Not long into his stint in the G-League, he dropped 51 points on the Los Angeles D-Fenders, showing the first signs of his explosiveness. In April 2017 he signed with the Milwaukee Bucks - another of his father's former teams - and made his first appearance that night.
He was waived by the Bucks at the end of pre-season 2017-18 but was given a two-way contract by the club a few days later to appear with the Wisconsin Herd in the G-League, however in December of that year he was once again waived by the Bucks.
Payton II would bounce between the NBA and G-League for a few years, having stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, another two stints with Rio Grande, two with the Washington Wizards, the South Bay Lakers and the 905 Raptors.
In April 2021, he signed a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors, then another 1-day when the first one was up. The Warriors then signed him for the rest of the season, and the following, before waiving and re-signing him yet again in October.
So far this season Payton II has appeared in 11 games and is averaging 6.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.
After stints with five G-League teams and four NBA teams over a five-year span, Payton II appears to have finally found a steady home with the Golden State Warriors.
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