Gary Payton Was 'Hot' After Michael Jordan Laughed at Him in 'The Last Dance'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 21, 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

One person who wasn't laughing along with Michael Jordan when he dismissed Gary Payton during The Last Dance was The Glove himself. 

Appearing on the Opinionated 7-Footers podcast (h/t Andrew Joseph of USA Today's For The Win) earlier in May, Payton said he was "hot" when seeing Jordan laugh him off in the documentary:

"Oh you know I was hot. I was thinking about calling him at the time. … But you know what, that's what I expect out of Mike because I would've said the same thing. I would've said the same thing. You know me, B. I'm not gonna admit to nothing, man. I'm not gonna admit to somebody that D'd me up or did nothing.

"I'll always tell you that any time in my career, nobody gave me problems but one person, and that's John Stockton to me. That is just the way the game goes. I'm not mad at Mike because Mike didn't have too many games that nobody D'd him up."

In the documentary, Jordan's reaction to hearing Payton say he wore down the Chicago Bulls superstar when they were matched up during the 1996 NBA Finals immediately became an iconic meme:

ESPN @espn

Gary Payton thought he found a way to get to MJ ... Mike wasn't sweating the Glove 😂 #TheLastDance https://t.co/Z8NG7qN5hW

Despite that reaction, there's evidence to support Payton's belief that his defense was effective. Over the final three games of the series between the Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics, Jordan only shot 36.7 percent from the field. He averaged 31 points per game on 46 percent shooting in the first three contests. 

Jordan got the last laugh because the Bulls beat the Sonics in six games to win their fourth NBA championship.