John Stockton pulled a surprise when he selected Jazz fan nemesis Isiah Thomas to present him at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2009.
Apparently, what comes around goes around.
Gary Payton will reportedly show the same level of rivalry respect by having Stockton present him when he's inducted to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this summer, according to SI.com.
Payton, a nine-time All-Star and world-class trash-talker, has been voted in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The nine-time All-NBA player and 1996 defensive player of the year will have the former Jazz star and George Gervin with him on stage during his special moment in Springfield, Mass.
With differing styles, Stockton and The Glove engaged in many high-octane matchups during the 1990s when the Sonics and Jazz were among the NBA's top teams.
Jazz legends Jerry Sloan (2009) and Karl Malone (2010) also made surprising presenter picks for their enshrinements. Sloan invited Charles Barkley to present him, while The Mailman had fellow Louisiana standout Willis Reed stand by him during the Hall of Fame honor.
Payton recently spoke highly of Stockton during an interview with Grantland.com. He told the online sports publication that the former Utah point guard was his favorite player to face.
"I idolize him now to the fullest. I think he was probably ... not underrated, but everybody thought he wasn’t the guard to go against every day, that he was probably easy," Payton said in the Grantland.com interview.
"They thought he was dirty. He was a guard where he wasn’t as athletic as us, he did it as basic as he had to. He set hard picks. People were mad because they knew he set hard picks, but they always got caught on them."
What Stockton lacked in athleticism against guys like Payton, he made up for with his basketball IQ and instincts.
"We weren’t as smart as him. We were so big-headed thinking we could be more athletic than him and he would get us out of our game," Payton continued. "We would get mad, get techs, and be sitting on the bench while he would never say nothing to no one. We’re good friends to this day. It’s just one of the things that I admire of him."
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