Warriors guard Gary Payton II has been compared to his father, Hall of Famer Gary Payton Sr., pretty much since he picked up a basketball.
Named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year during the 1995-96 season, Payton Sr. was known as “The Glove” for his lockdown defense.
And since GP2 has come into the league in 2016, he has bounced around from team to team. But one thing that’s remained constant is his defensive ability.
And GP2 said he gets it from his momma.
“It’s got to be Monique,” Payton II told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears. “So if it’s not Monique, I’d be surprised if it’s Gary. I doubt it, though. In Monique’s background, she was running track, doing high jump, long jump, it just makes sense. And she used to always tell me she was the most athletic in her class. So I’m going to take her word for it. It’s truly Monique.”
Payton II’s high-flying dunks have become must-watch television. This season, he’s averaging 7.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 15 minutes per game for the Warriors.
His defensive efforts have also helped him collect 38 steals so far this season.
But the 6-foot-3 guard credits his mom, not his dad, for his unique athleticism.
His mom, Monique, was a star athlete herself.
Monique played basketball for Skyline High School in Oakland where she said she “had the highest vertical leap amongst the girls,” and was on the track and field team, running the 100 meters, 200 meters, hurdles, long jump and high jump.
She then went on to play basketball at Merritt College in Oakland where she still holds the school record for most steals in a game (15), ranks third in school history in steals (291) and ninth in assists (182).
Just as impressive, Monique showcased her full athleticism with a 30-inch vertical jump.
And with the same bounce in his DNA as his mom, GP2 absolutely thrives in the dunker spot.
For years, GP2 has been lacking a consistent and efficient way of contributing points on the offensive end. But his season-high 22 points, including four 3-pointers, in the Dubs' 113-104 win over the Memphis Grizzlies last week was an eye-opener.
As someone who usually racks up points from getting above the rim, his performance showed he can score in other ways.
Like mother, like son.