Ahmad Rashad: Michael Jordan Says Gary Payton Asked for His Shoes During Finals

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2020

Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan drives around Seattle SuperSonics' Gary Payton during Game 1 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night, June 5, 1996, in Chicago. The Bulls won 107-90 and the much anticipated matchup of Jordan and Payton in the series opener was well worth the wait. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)
BETH A. KEISER/Associated Press

In the most meme-worthy moment of Sunday's installments of The Last Dance, Michael Jordan is shown a clip of Gary Payton saying his defensive strategy "took a toll" on His Airness in the 1996 NBA Finals.

Jordan's response? Laughter followed by a quintessential MJ quote: "The Glove? I had no problem with The Glove."

According to Ahmad Rashad, Jordan never felt threatened by Payton after the Sonics star asked for his shoes following Game 1:

Ahmad Rashad @NBATVAhmad

Mj told me that gary Payton asked him for his shoes after game 1 and that’s when he knew he had him!!! @espn #nba #LastDance

While Jordan may have thought he "had" Payton, the numbers do back up The Glove's sentiment. Jordan averaged just 23.7 points on 36.7 percent shooting over the last three games of the 1996 Finals, two of which the Sonics won.

Who knows? Maybe Payton was prescient and thought he could pull a Like Mike six years before the movie came out. Regardless, it didn't work out for him or the Sonics despite their best efforts.