Warriors, Gary Payton’s second home | Sports

That “Mom, I don’t want to be a fool” stabbed like a dagger into Monique’s soul. So much so that he never forgot this moment. It was the summer of 2003 and she was flying from Seattle to Los Angeles to face the adventures of her husband, Gary Payton, the head of the family and one of the greatest keepers of his era, in the Lakers. This phrase from his son, who was also called Gary and was at the time 10 years old, summed up between tears and inside that plane the constant annoyance he experienced. Derived from not understanding why it is different.

Just two years ago, Gary was diagnosed with dyslexia, a disorder that makes it difficult to learn to read and write and he cannot learn to live with it. His mother still has an open wound. Monique lamented the cruelty with which she – without knowing what was happening – was able to cure her son during the hundreds of nights she forced him, before bed, to read to create a good habit.

She also did it with her two brothers, Julian and Raquel, in sessions that did not exceed half an hour, and where she always worked as a guide. But while there were no issues with his siblings, Gary was constantly stuck up. He stammered, hesitating, a victim of those lines whose messages he finds difficult to decipher. I asked him and the boy still dragged this feeling of insecurity. Later, from perspective, already realizing the turmoil that prevented her son from overcoming this seemingly simple routine, the one crying—and for months—would be her.

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In Los Angeles, Gary, who was going to study at a special center for children with learning disorders, not only accepted his situation but ended up normalizing it, showing no more tears or frustration associated with the difficulty he had to go through. This was actually a future incentive to try to help improve the lives of others.

In the United States, it is estimated that between 10% and 15% of children have dyslexia. But Gary Payton II gives them tremendous support from his platform. To that extent, the National Basketball Association recently distinguished itself for a Golden State Warriors player with the Bob Lanier Community Assist Award, an award that recognizes athletes’ social impact on the environment around them. Incidentally, it was renamed this year in honor of the legendary Lanier, a former player and benchmark for decades as a promoter of equality and social justice, who passed away last May.

Payton’s work in San Francisco, developed by his nonprofit that focuses on family and educational management of dyslexia, has gained recognition that, for the player himself, it reaffirms the feeling of living in the year that changed his life.

That is, many things have changed in just a few months. We remember in particular that not so long ago, in mid-October, Payton faced countless crossroads in his career. The eternal conversation with his family and above all with himself about what to do. whether it is worth continuing. Cut for the fourth time in six years and after amassing just 71 games in five career NBA tournaments, with a steady landing in this test bed called the G-League, Payton was ready to give up.

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The Golden State Warriors, with whom he played ten games (but only forty minutes) the previous season, terminated his contract shortly before the start of this campaign, leaving him, once again, on edge. No place to play, no confidence to hold on to. Payton even asked an acquaintance in the franchise, assistant coach Jama Mahalala, to broker him a job opening in the video format department. “I just wanted to be close to the game, if I couldn’t play I wanted to help,” journalist Kendra Andrews said in her day.

Mahalaleh knew Payton, with his immense defensive intelligence and keen eye for detail, could make it happen. But he can also do it more on the right track. Fortunately for Gary, he wasn’t the only one: Four days later, the Warriors summoned Payton again, offering him the last place on the list and the chance to get a franchise he’d dreamed of ruling again.

Payton’s goals were much less ambitious, but to tell the truth, it wasn’t even in his wildest dreams that they had achieved what reality offered. The player ended up being an active part of Steve Kerr’s team rotation. He’s played the same matches, this year only, as the previous five matches together. He did it with the highest average minutes (17.6) of his career, and above all, he feels valuable in a scheme that perfectly complements him.

The final sample can be seen during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, against the Celtics, with the series tied (2-2). It was a duel in which Payton took advantage of the (26) minutes Steve Kerr allowed him, and once again left his mark. Due to its profile, a bleak footprint or has been given to the popular hustle, but equally essential to helping win and leaving Warriors just one win away from the title.

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On the track Payton is not and never will be his father, a legend at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century and was named among the 75 best players in NBA history, but a real and stable chance she had was enough, in an environment that values ​​brightness but also balance, to realize her worth. It would have been possible, deep down, that the house would have sufficed to show off luxurious accessories. On and off the field.

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