The ESPN and Netflix docuseries The Last Dance centered on the career of Michael Jordan, particularly his final season with the Chicago Bulls. The series includes interviews from many veteran basketball players, including Gary Payton, who is best known for playing with the Seattle SuperSonics, among other teams. Now, Payton is speaking out about a major that involved Jordan in the docuseries.
During The Last Dance, Michael Jordan actually watched the interview Gary Payton did with the show's crew, during which he made comments about the 1996 NBA Finals between the SuperSonics and Bulls. Payton said that if he had gotten more physical with Jordan, perhaps the outcome could have changed. Jordan essentially just laughs at the thought, telling the interviewer he had no problem with Payton, who was famously known as "The Glove." While answering a fan question during an AMA with Bleacher Report, Payton spoke out about that moment and gave thoughts on Jordan's competitive nature. He explained:
It's like this to me. He wouldn't be Michael Jordan if he would have bowed down there. Everybody knows about his competitiveness. He was a guy who came every night to play. I respect him for that because I came every night to play. I was never gonna back down to him and he knew that. If it was my documentary and they asked me the same thing I would have laughed too and been like "no he couldn't go at me neither." Every night I played Michael Jordan he brought the best out of me. Wish I could have started off on him in the championship and it would have been better, but their team was better than mine at the time and they won it all. He did a documentary, he felt the way he felt. What I can do is I can say the same thing hahaha.
While Michael Jordan may have laughed off Gary Payton's comments, it doesn't diminish what he did accomplish during his career. Aside from playing for the Seattle SuperSonics for 13 years, Gary Payton also played with the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, winning an NBA championship with the Heat in 2006. Payton was also inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. Still, it's hard to argue that Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls did manage to get the best of Gary Payton's Seattle SuperSonics when they faced off in that 1996 series.
Gary Payton is just one of the many NBA personalities featured in The Last Dance to share thoughts on an aspect of the acclaimed docuseries. Former Chicago Bull Steve Kerr was mostly positive on it, despite not liking the way former teammate Scottie Pippen was depicted. Pippen himself also wasn't too pleased with it and even expressed his feelings to Jordan.
While fans will likely continue to have their debates regarding the matchup between Michael Jordan and Gary Payton, many can agree that watching the two go at it was a sight to behold. You can get a taste of this by streaming The Last Dance on Netflix now.