NBA — 03 September 2013
Gary Payton Says Stockton Was Tougher to Defend than Jordan

Gary Payton was an all-time great NBA player, but he was equally as good at trash talking. In the mid-90s when the Sonics and Bulls met in the Finals, there’s a classic play where Payton whispers something in Michael Jordan’s ear. Is his trash talk with MJ still continuing?

In a recent Q&A with Yahoo!, GP made the statement that John Stockton was tougher to defend than Michael Jordan. Take that with a grain of salt because both Payton and Stockton were point guards which means they were matched up more one-on-one than he was with the shooting guard Jordan.

Either way, this adds to the list of former players denouncing Jordan, albeit on a pretty minor scale.

Q: Did John Stockton ever talk trash back to you?

A: ”Never. That is the reason I really respected him because you never could get in his head. He’s the hardest person I ever had to guard. I tried to talk to him, try to do something and he’d just look at me, set a pick and cause me [to get mad and] get a tech. And then all of the sudden it was over. There was much respect to him doing that to me. It taught me a lot.”

Q: You say Stockton was the hardest to guard, but what about guarding Michael Jordan?

A: ”Those battles were a little easier. I would have Jordan get mad at me and go back at me. He knew he was really talented and could do whatever he wanted to. But [Stockton] was more of a challenge to me than guarding someone that would talk back to me. When you talk back to me and say something to me it made my game go to another level. John was one who wouldn’t say nothing and you couldn’t figure him out. He’d keep going in the pick and rolls and he and Karl Malone would score a big bucket. At times I would guard Jordan and get him mad and into other things.”

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