Former Seattle Supersonics point guard Gary Payton was named as one of 12 finalists to the Basketball Hall of Fame, but that's not why we're writing about him here. As has been reported before, he's emerged as a mentor to Washington Wizards point guard John Wall.
Therefore, one reporter asked Payton about David Falk's recent criticism that Wall will never be a franchise player. Wizards Extreme caught the exchange on video:
"I disagree with that. We talked today, we talked yesterday when I first got here. I told him a lot of things that he needed to work on this summer. He's on board. He's going to be with me. So I don't care about that," Payton said.
Then, Payton said something that should resonate with many here.
"The guy reminds me of myself. He's very long. He can score. He's got a good knack for the basketball. He just needs somebody that can teach him how to play defense," he said.
Payton also said that Wall and Damian Lillard will work out with him over the summer.
GP also said he plans to work out this summer with Wall and @dame_lillard. Thinks Wall has the potential to be a lockdown defender/scorer.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 15, 2013
I've tweeted several times that Wall's best chance to become a star is to follow Payton's development. Payton took three years to really emerge, but he quickly became a star in years 4-5. Hearing Payton say he sees a lot of himself in Wall is very encouraging.