Gary Payton was born July 23, 1968.
Hailing from Oakland, Payton played at Skyline High School before becoming became one of the most dominant players in Oregon State history. In his senior season, the consensus All-American averaged 25.7 points, 8.1 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 steals. He still holds the records for most all-time points, field goals, assists and steals.
Payton was selected second overall in the 1990 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics. In his first two seasons, he struggled a bit, averaging 8.2 points.
Alongside Shawn Kemp, the dynamic duo dubbed "Sonic Boom" quickly evolved into one of the leagues most exiting tandems.
During Payton's 12 and a half seasons with the Sonics, he made nine consecutive All-NBA and All-Defensive First Team selections, and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 1996. In addition, he was voted to the NBA All-Star team nine times, and won two gold medals with the U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball Teams in 1996 and 2000.
In 1996, Payton lead the team to a franchise record 64-win season, reaching the NBA Finals and eventually losing the to Chicago Bulls in six games.
Halfway through his 12th season with Seattle in 2003, Payton was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks with Desmond Mason in exchange for Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie, and Ronald Murray. In his 28 games with the team, he averaged 19.6 points and 7.4 assists.
After the season, the unrestricted free agent decided to team up with fellow superstar Karl Malone and join the Los Angeles Lakers in search of the their first NBA championship. The Lakers ended up losing to the less-heralded Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals. In the series, Payton struggled to contain Chauncey Billups, who ended up winning the Finals MVP award.
Before the 2004-05 season, Payton was traded to the Celtics, where he started 77 games averaging 11.3 points, and 6.1 assists.
Still unable to win a championship, Payton made one last running at seeking the illusive title. He signed a one-year contract with the Miami Heat, reuniting with former teammates Antoine Walker and Shaquille O'Neal.
Although he didn't start any games in the 2005-06 playoffs, Payton averaged 24 minutes and played a crucial role in helping secure the franchise's first NBA championship.
In 2006-07, which was Payton's last season in the league, he re-signed with the Heat on another one-year deal. Although he averaged a career low 5.3 points, and 3 assists per game, Payton moved up several NBA All-Time lists (games played, minutes played, and scoring to name a few).
He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2013.