From an interview with Slamonline, Gary Payton explains his longevity:
SLAM: But how were you that durable? How is that possible?
GP: I was really smart. When I started playing, I was playing a lot of minutes—at one point, for like two or three years, I was averaging 46 minutes per game. So what I did was, I didn’t practice a lot. George Karl would tell me to go into the Jacuzzi, ice up, and come out only when we would have major things on the court. So I would practice for about an hour, and then George would pull me out. Then I would go back into the Jacuzzi and do the whole thing again. I kept my therapy and massages, so when I would play in the game I just left it all on the court for 46 minutes because I had the energy.
Yep, nothing to add here except that the NBA is the greatest, and so is Gary Payton.
"I was really smart ... So what I did was, I didn't practice a lot."
It probably didn't happen this way, but I imagine him holding court in the Sonics jacuzzi with women and champagne like a Biggie video brought to life, all while talking shit to Lil Penny on an impossibly large cell phone. Just another day at NBA practice in the 1990s.
Also, there's this:
I did that routine for a long period of time. And actually, it’s funny. I told Allen Iverson the routine and he went and tried to do the same thing, but he ended up doing it the wrong way.
... AND THAT'S WHERE KEEPING IT REAL WENT WRONG.
Now we know. Add this anecdote as a footnote to The Tragedy of Allen Iverson, but considering the context, maybe we should just blame Larry Brown for not being as baller as George Karl and letting his superstars get their hot tub on while Eric Snow ran wind sprints. Either way, let's all be grateful that GP and SLAM brought it to the masses.