Gary Payton II didn’t play during the opening game loss of the NBA Finals, but he was fully present when the Warriors beat the Celtics in Game 2.
Payton, who hadn’t played since a nasty elbow injury earlier in the playoffs, was activated before the Sunday victory. The 29-year-old logged 25 minutes, replacing Andre Iguodala in the rotation.
He was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field, connecting on a 3-point attempt. He also added three assists and three rebounds during the contest, and while on the defensive end of the floor, he had the tough assignment to guard Jayson Tatum. It was a great NBA Finals debut performance, worthy of the standing ovation that he received.
All the sweeter is that he put on the show in front of his father, former NBA player Gary Payton. The elder Payton, who won an NBA champion in 2006, was at the game. He was also wearing an awesome shirt:
Payton’s shirt depicted his son, the Golden State guard, defending a much younger version of himself.
If the two matched up in their respective primes, it would be a fascinating matchup.
Although the former Seattle Supersonics superstar has a more decorated career, making nine All-Star appearances during his playing career, his son would likely hold his own.
By the way, if you’re curious about why the Golden State defensive ace is known as Gary Payton II and not Gary Payton Jr., my colleague Mike Sykes has your answer.