Gary Payton

Today in Performance Sneaker History: Gary Payton is Born in Oakland, CA

On July 23, 1968, Gary Payton was born in Oakland, California. The former NBA point guard spent 17 years in the league, playing with the Seattle Supersonics for 13 seasons. In 2006, Payton won an NBA Championship as a member of the Miami Heat. He’s also a 9-time NBA All-Star, 9-time All-NBA Defensive First-Team and two-time All-NBA First Team member, and in 1996, he led the league in steals and won Defensive Player of the Year. Most recently, Payton was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Payton, who’s mostly remembered for his smothering defense, was also known for his all-around efficiency. Hall of Famer and NBA Champion Gail Goodrich once called Payton, “probably as complete a guard as there ever was.” Offensively, Payton was more of a slashing, physical scorer than a shooter, and was often a threat to some of the league’s top defenses. In 1996, Payton and teammate Shawn Kemp led the Sonics to the NBA Finals, where they took the Michael Jordan-led Bulls to 6 games before losing the series.

’90s NBA fans likely have fond memories of GP’s signature sneakers as well. Starting with the Zoom Flight ’98 (aka “The Glove”, named after Payton’s infamous moniker), Nike began to produce models catered to Payton’s unique game. Eventually, a GP line was launched, which saw plenty of success both on and off the courts. However, The Glove (and its “Son of Glove” take-down variation) may be the most recognizable of them all.

With its shrouded upper (recently reimagined on the Air Jordan XX8) providing a lockdown fit, The Glove is one of the most fitting sneaker names of all time. If you’ve been anticipating the return of this late ’90s classic, you won’t have to wait much longer, as the Nike Sportswear-issued retro has already begun popping up at retailers, with a wider official launch coming soon.

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