Warriors

Why Payton loves Draymond calling himself GOAT defender

Warriors
Draymond Green guarding Jimmy Butler

"The Glove" has plenty of love for Draymond Green.

Gary Payton, widely considered one of the greatest defenders in NBA history, was perfectly fine with the Warriors star last month labeling himself the best defender ever.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer would've been far more surprised to hear Green say otherwise.

"I wouldn't expect nothing else from him, you know what I'm saying? Because that's who he is," Payton said of Green in an interview with former teammate Dorell Wright on Sunday's episode of the "Dubs Talk" podcast. "He's a guy that got a lot of confidence, and he feels that way. Everybody has their own opinion about a lot of things. ... If you feel that way, great. Everybody try to get me on chats and all that and discuss that. I don't have anything to say about that. That's the way he feels, you know what I'm saying? And that's the way it goes."

In 17 NBA seasons, Payton appeared on nine All-Defensive First Teams and was named the 1995-96 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Only six players -- Scottie Pippen, Bobby Jones, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan -- appeared on more All-Defensive teams, and no player in NBA history has been First Team All-Defense more than the Oakland native.

Payton retired in 2007, giving him a unique glimpse at the NBA across multiple eras. He played against all of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James in his career, and his son -- Green's teammate, Gary Payton II -- first played in the NBA in 2016.

 

If anyone's qualified to say Green is off-base, Payton is. But that's not the conversation he's interested in having.

"It's a lot to say that, but I love it because he's gotten a lot of confidence in saying that, and to say that he can do that," Payton continued. "That's fine with me! If he wants to say that and he feels that way, more power to him. But I just say, we look at a lot of things around. There's a lot of great defensive players out there that did a lot of great things, and that's his opinion."

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Payton's defensive prowess was perhaps only rivaled by his own confidence. Who could forget the point guard, over a decade after retirement and nearly a quarter-century after losing to Jordan's Chicago Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals, claiming that his defense "took a toll" on Jordan?

Not only did the quote spawn an iconic meme, it provided great insight into Payton's self-belief. No wonder Payton admires Green's confidence so much.

It surely reminds him of his own.

Programming note: You can see the full interview with Gary Payton and Dorell Wright on "Warriors Pregame Live" starting at 6 p.m. PT.

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