Gary Payton in the Nike Air Thrill Flight

Today in Performance Sneaker History: Gary Payton Reaches 2000 Career Steals in Nike Air Thrill Flight

Ever wonder why '90s NBA star Gary Payton was nicknamed “The Glove”? Look no further than his performance on March 26, 1996 when the Seattle SuperSonics faced the Golden State Warriors. Payton only grabbed one steal during the game, but that was all he needed to reach the 2,000 career steals mark. Currently, Gary Payton's total of 2,445 is the fourth highest total of all time, behind superstars like Michael Jordan, Jason Kidd, and John Stockton. Only eleven players in NBA history have surpassed the 2,000 steals mark.

Racking up steals wasn't the only thing that Gary Payton and Jason Kidd had in common. Kidd's most notable signature model was the Nike Zoom Flight 95. In '96, Gary Payton was wearing the Nike Air Thrill Flight, which was a take-down version of the Zoom Flight. Built with a similar aesthetic, the Thrill Flight was stripped of the Zoom Air in favor of standard Air cushioning, yet remained a capable model for guys like The Glove. This model has not been seen on shelves since its original 1996 release. However, Nike has announced plans for a 2013 retro of Payton's 1998 signature shoe, the Zoom Flight 98, aka The Glove.

A decade later, Gary Payton won his first and only NBA Championship with the Miami Heat. The nine-time NBA All-Star and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member is a sure fire Hall of Fame candidate.

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