Near the end of his career, Gary Payton wanted to win a ring. When it didn’t happen in LA, he joined the Heat and became an essential part of the 2006 championship team. One of the best trash talkers and defensive masterminds of his generation, Payton’s veteran savvy seems to have paid off for the Heat according to his latest comments.
On the Herd with Collin Cowherd, Payton comments on his time with the Heat. He explains they were different because each player knew their role, so no personalities clashed. As the oldest player on the roster, Payton acted as a mentor. He goes further saying Pat Riley brought him on initially to mentor Jason Williams, but he grew as a mentor to the whole team.
"I called a meeting in Dallas and told them this young kid is going to do this for us. We all play a role... Shaq is going to get out of some stuff, but @DwyaneWade is going to get us something."— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) June 18, 2018
Gary Payton on why the @MiamiHEAT won a Championship in 2006 pic.twitter.com/utzpfkaLyF
Payton expands on his initial relationship with Dwyane Wade as well, speaking about the advice he gave him early on about defense, and his dangers of his finishing at the rim.
The most interesting part of the interview is the meeting Payton apparently called in Dallas. He reiterated that Wade and Shaq were the stars and they rest of the team needed to play their role, while Wade carried them saying:
“I called a meeting in Dallas and told them this young kid is going to do this for us. We all play a role... Shaq is going to get out of some stuff, but Dwyane Wade is going to get us something.”
Wade went on to carry the Heat in multiple spectacular NBA Finals’ performances and would win Finals MVP. Though we’re over a decade removed from the 2006 Finals, it’s still cool to hear players reflect on their Heat experience during that time.