NBA legend Gary Payton helps businesses mitigate COVID-19, a dedication that runs through the family

Hall of Famer and NBA 75th Anniversary Team inductee Gary Payton’s legacy was clearly inherited by his son Golden State Warriors defensive threat Gary Payton II during the NBA Finals. The legacy began with Peyton Sr.’s late father Al, a Bay Area legend known as “Mr. Mean” for his serious approach to all aspects of life. He helped train Gary Sr. on the field while keeping him from succumbing to the temptations and dangers of Oakland in the early 1980s.

However, just as basketball was to Payton, Al also instilled in them a necessary spirit: giving back to the community.

“My dad was my hero. When my best friend, a lot of my people, didn’t have a dad, my dad was the guy in the community,” Gary Payton Sr. told CBS Sports in a video interview. “They only have a working mother, and they can go out on the streets and do bad things. But my dad helps them in that neighborhood — buys them tennis shoes, gives them a place to play basketball, and lets them ‘they’re a place to do things. This is what I saw and I decided I needed help once I was alive. “

After his 17-year NBA career and retirement, Payton has dedicated his time, money and energy to his hometown Oakland community, as well as various other national and international charities. Whether it’s building a youth center or offering kids a shopping spree during the holidays, Payton always finds time to do what he sees as necessary.

So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, destroying countless businesses across the country struggling to retain employees and customers, Payton got into action.He collaborated with Hennessy on a project called unfinished worka long-standing initiative that has awarded more than $7.5 million to help Black, Latino and Asian American-owned small businesses through the challenges of the pandemic.

“We just decided, we need to get these guys back on their feet, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Payton told CBS Sports. “When you save your life savings— your life savings – It’s not fair to start doing something just because of an unfortunate thing to be taken away like that. If we can afford to come and help, we will. “

So far, the initiative has recruited 17 NBA teams to contribute, and their biggest impact is yet to come. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NBA, Hennessy focuses on 75 unfinished work Recipients who go above and beyond to make an impact in their communities. Information about the business can be found on the Instagram accounts of Payton (@Gary.Payton.20) and Hennessy (@HennessyUS). The response from the business owners they’ve helped so far has been overwhelming.

“Some people just said (Payton sighs) ‘Thank you. You know what I’m talking about?” Payton told CBS Sports. Give it back to them, that’s what we want to keep doing. We just want to keep helping. “

While this season’s Warriors breakout player Gary Payton II may have inherited his defensive prowess from his father, he has also inherited a charitable will or necessity. Payton II was honored with the NBA’s 2021-22 Bob Lanier Community Assistance Award for his community outreach efforts to support Bay Area youth. He is open about his personal struggles with dyslexia, and earlier this season launched the GPII Foundation to raise awareness of dyslexia. He also hosted his first reading reading rally Decoding Dyslexia for students affected by learning disabilities and invited members of the program to his ticketing area for a Warriors home game.

His name at the Chase Center ticket office? “Mr Mean’s Team” in memory of his grandfather.

“He looked at me and saw what I was doing, and now he’s doing it on a bigger stage,” Payton Sr. said of his son. “So I’m grateful for it all.”

The story of the Peyton family reinforces the contagious nature of donations. What started with Al was ingrained in Gary Sr., who passed it on to Gary II. As a result, they have touched countless lives — maybe even saved some — by using basketball as a means of improving their communities and the world at large.

“I feel like God put me on earth to play basketball. … Now what he does is, 15 years after retiring, he still makes me relevant in this world, and relevant means me To be on this platform and to help people I need help,” Payton Sr. told CBS Sports. “That’s what I’m doing. I’m just helping people more and more.”

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