Of the 12 former players, coaches and contributors inducted to the Naismith Hall of Fame on Sunday, no one had a more anticipated speech than Gary Payton. In his 17 years in the NBA, Payton developed a reputation as one of the biggest trash talkers in league history.
On the podium, however, Payton was more modest and self-effacing than he was on the court. He gave thanks to his two presenters, John Stockton and George Gervin, and even made a near-apology for the years of smack talk.
"It was all for my crazy love for the game and my lack of maturity to express my passion any other way," Payton said. "I don't regret the way I went about it. I can't help but think I could have given more to the game that gave so much to me."
Still, bits of the old, trash-talking "Glove" persona came out.
"Y'all talking about that Lob City and the Clippers. We were the original Lob City." - Gary Payton on he and Shawn Kemp in Seattle.— The NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 8, 2013
"As players we dream of this moment but don't expect to be here. But I really liked my chances of getting here." Gary Payton @hoophall— NBA History (@NBAHistory) September 8, 2013
Brazilian scoring machine Oscar Schmidt, who claimed he would be one of the top-10 players in NBA history if he had played in the league, arguably stole the show.
"My guy doesn't run, doesn't jump, and plays the best of everybody else." - Oscar Schmidt on his presenter Larry Bird.— The NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 8, 2013
"People ask why I never played in the NBA. I was drafted by the Nets ... in the 6th round. 144th ... after the Olympics." Oscar Schmidt— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) September 8, 2013
Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino might have won the day in terms of motivational material.
"Coaches are bridge builders. Our job is to build these bridges for our athletes to crossover for some type of prosperity." Rick Pitino— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) September 8, 2013
"You finally walked through that door!" Rick Pitino to Larry Bird just now at HOF.— Jim Ice (@Jim_ICE) September 8, 2013
Here are some other notable quotes from the 2013 induction ceremony.
"I wish, like the other veteran players in the Hall of Fame, that we could challenge the stars of today's game." Richie Guerin— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) September 8, 2013
"Every experience in my life has been purposeful and every person a teacher. I will take this as my final victory as a player." Dawn Staley— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) September 8, 2013
"I grew up loving everything about the University of Houston and I always wanted to play for Guy Lewis." -- Clyde Drexler @NBATV— NBA History (@NBAHistory) September 8, 2013
"The most influential person at the NBA was of course David Stern ... the best possible education of running a sports league." - Russ Granik— NBA History (@NBAHistory) September 8, 2013
"I treasured playing for the Knicks and the fans of New York." - Bernard King— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) September 8, 2013