Gary Payton Teases NBA Coaching Career: 'I Got a Surprise Coming'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2021

Inductee Gary Payton, left, speaks during the enshrinement ceremony for the 2013 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as Hall of Famer John Stockton, right, looks on at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Mass., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Gary Payton teased a potential return to the NBA as a coach in the near future.

The Hall of Famer told Sean Deveney of Forbes he is interested in coaching and the opportunity could be around the corner.

"It is still the case. I got a surprise coming for a lot of people pretty soon," Payton said. "I don't want to announce it right now, but you'll see it pretty soon in the next couple of weeks, I hope everybody will be excited about it."

The 52-year-old spent 17 years in the NBA as a player, earning nine All-Star selections, nine first-team All-Defense selections and the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1995-96.

The on-court experience gives him vast knowledge to impart to younger players, but he has waited for a good opportunity to begin his coaching career.

Payton discussed his plans in October with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

"I have had conversations in the past about coaching, but the timing wasn't right. I believe I now am ready to coach. A lot of young NBA players are a voice away from reaching their true potential. I would like to join an NBA staff where I can help coach, mentor and guide players toward the hard work, focus and determination needed to become a reliable contributor to a team's success."

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Payton's son, Gary Payton II, is currently playing for Raptors 905 in the G League after ending last season with the Washington Wizards.

The elder Payton also has several other intriguing connections around the league that could lead to a coaching position.

As Deveney noted, the former point guard played alongside current Atlanta Hawks head coach Nate McMillan, while current Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey was an assistant coach for Payton in the 90s. Both are younger teams that could benefit greatly from this type of addition to the coaching staff.