Remember when Payton then got traded to Boston, and after demanding a trade and crying about it, he left to join the Heat championship bandwagon the first chance he got?
Well, Gary is currently bored, old, and out of work...which meant it was time to give the Celtics a call and tell them he was the crucial missing piece in their championship dreams! Yes, the bar for "most shameless attempt to jump on a team on a surefire track to winning a title" has once again been raised. At this point in Payton's career he is just competing against himself in that regard.
His agent isn't even hiding it anymore. Instead of using the age-old veteran hypes, such as "He still thinks he can contribute" and "He brings leadership to the table", Payton's agent Aaron Goodwin just chose to state the obvious:
"Gary's interest is only with teams he can play with and compete with to win a championship," Goodwin said. "He'd love the opportunity to play with Boston. It's one of the teams he had me contact before the season, and that's saying a lot because Gary doesn't like the cold."
Now, I know this is America and freedom is the right of all sentient beings (thank you for that quote, Optimus Prime), but shouldn't there be some sort of rule in sports against this? Some sort of way to tell veteran players who obviously have nothing left in the tank and just want to hop onto successful teams that you have to EARN your championship? Robert Horry is a complete exception because although he is largely useless during the regular season, he is so clutch in the playoffs it is worth paying him to sit all year just for that shot at the end. That and he sort of looks like Will Smith, so it is worth seeing drunk overweight fans yell, "BIG WILLIE STYLE!!!" when he steps on the court.
With the NBA unlikely to make any sort of rule like this in the next eternity, I encourage every NBA fan to relentlessly boo Gary Payton until he abandons this unending wish to piggyback his way to glory. Booing him may be difficult since he doesn't play anymore, but you can still boo him when you see games of him on NBA Classic and do it to your starting lineup figures. Also, if you happen to live by him in Las Vegas you can do it anytime you wish. Something just seems right about imagining Gary Payton on the phone with his agent, trying to join the Celtics, as the waiter serving his soup to him boos him.
Hopefully this will ground him and let him retire in dignity. If that doesn't work, it is only a matter of time before he spirals out of control and enters the shameless land of no return: phone ads with Carrot Top.