By Brandon Zhu
On this day in 1996, Seattle Supersonics point guard Gary Payton became the ninth player in NBA history to record 2,000 career steals. Payton reached the mark in a 114-102 triumph over the Golden State Warriors. In the contest, Payton contributed 23 points, 11 assists, and secured a single steal to reach the milestone. Payton is currently ranked 4th on the NBA all-time steals list with 2,455 career steals. The 2nd pick in the 1990 NBA Draft, Payton played 17 seasons in the league. Known for his immense defensive prowess and shooting ability, the talented point guard led the league in steals in 1996 and was also named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. In 2006, Payton helped the Miami Heat win their first NBA title in franchise history. In Game 5, of the 2006 NBA Finals, Payton scored 8 points. This included Miami’s final field goal with 29 seconds left, to help clinch a one-point victory. The Heat ended up closing out the Dallas Mavericks 4-2 in the very next game. Payton’s other accolades include 9x All-NBA Team selections, 9x NBA All-Defensive First Team, and 9x NBA All-Star. Payton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
In 2018 we had the pleasure of interviewing Gary for our podcast.