Gary Payton II and his father have an amazing relationship, and it’s one that tends to provide plenty of laughs.
So after the Warriors guard won his first-ever championship ring with Golden State’s defeat of the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals, it wasn’t all that surprising when he took the opportunity to fire a playful jab at his dad, Gary Payton Sr., heading into Father's Day weekend.
“You know, it’s huge … It’s crazy,” Payton told reporters after the Warriors’ Finals-clinching win Thursday as he reflected on sharing the moment with his dad. “I never would have thought something like this would happen.”
A sincere enough answer, but you know Payton had to get one over on Payton Sr.
“And I think I got mine sooner than he got his,” Payton added with a sly smile. “I’m 1-for-1, so we know we’re going to try to keep it that way. But it’s something to talk about, I can get my stuff off against him now, so it’s good.”
While recording “The Draymond Green Show” with his teammate that same night, Payton sent a similar reminder to listeners of the podcast.
Payton Sr. earned his ring with the Miami Heat in 2006 nearly 16 years after he was first drafted. His son’s first ring, in comparison, came five years after he made his NBA debut in 2017.
And while Payton Sr. is never one to shy away from poking fun at his son, too, he had no room for jokes on Thursday as pride took over.
“You know what, Grant. Him,” Payton Sr. told Grant Hill on NBA TV after Thursday’s game, who had asked if he enjoyed winning a championship or watching his son win a title more. “Watching him win the championship … As being a father, to see a son grow up and be around you as a ball boy and do the things that he do, and then he takes a trait from you and then comes and do the things he did, I think it’s more satisfying for me to see him today win the championship than it was for me.”
He took to Twitter the day after the win to congratulate both his son and the Warriors on their hard-earned title.
If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that Payton won’t let his dad forget anything about how and when he got his first ring.
But as Payton Sr. showed, it seems to be a moment with his son that he’ll never forget.