Shaq touts GP2 as reason why kids should never give up originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The entire league has been put on notice, Gary Payton II is a threat on both ends of the court.
During halftime of the Warriors matchup with the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center Tuesday night, NBA on TNT commentator, and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal had high praise for the Warriors’ rising star after an impressive dunk over Nets star James Harden.
“Before you roll the tape, let me introduce him to America,” Shaq said on air. “College at Oregon State, you probably know that. Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year both seasons, didn’t get drafted, G League for 128 games, Defensive Player of the Year in the G League. 85 games, six seasons with four franchises. Played 10 games with the Warriors last season. Was cut this year, they re-signed him.”
The 28-year-old Payton, son of Hall of Famer Gary Payton, has settled in nicely to his role off the bench for the Warriors after bouncing around between the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards for the first four years of his career before joining Golden State last season.
The Oregon State product went undrafted in 2016, and his road to success has been anything but smooth, which Shaq found inspiring.
“The message I want to send to the little kids is that you should never give up,” Shaq continued. “If you never give up and you believe in yourself and believe in your passion, this is what you become. We all know who the father is and how he was raised, I know his mother too. But listen, the guy plays hard, he plays well and he never gave up. There’s a lot of guys who say ‘hey, I’m not going to make it and I’ll just do whatever.’ But this kid never gave up and he’s finally getting his chance.”
Payton has made a name for himself on the Warriors with his impressive dunks and stellar defense.
His journey throughout the NBA has certainly been inspiring, and his success will only benefit the Warriors throughout the remainder of the season.