Gary Dwayne Payton II, also known as GP2, was born December 1, 1992 in Seattle, Washington to Gary and Monique Payton. Gary has one sister, Raquel, and two brothers, Gary Jr. and Julian. Growing up in Seattle, Gary spent his childhood attending Sonics games watching his NBA Hall of Fame father became one of the most accomplished players in league history. Always with a basketball in his hands, Gary was the first kid on the court to shoot hoops as soon as the games ended.
In 2011, Gary graduated from Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he lettered in basketball and swimming. He then enrolled at Westwind Prep School in Phoenix, AZ. to continue honing his basketball skills. In 2012, Gary transferred to Salt Lake Community College where he spent two seasons. As a sophomore, Gary began stuffing the stat sheet, averaging 14.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Named to the 2014 Second Team NJCAA Division I All-American Team and voted Region 18 Co-Player of the Year as well as Region 18 Tournament Most Valuable Player, Gary received several Division 1 offers. The only one that mattered: Oregon State, his father’s alma mater.
From 2014-16 with the Beavers, Gary averaged 14.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.8 steals in 63 games, becoming one of the most accomplished players in school history. The kid who couldn’t dunk until his senior year of high school was now consistently making top plays. In just his ninth game at OSU, Gary recorded a triple-double, something no other Beaver had done since his father. Gary became the first player to be voted as Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year twice and was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team during his two seasons in Corvallis. Gary owns the record for consecutive games with a steal (38) and career steal average (2.78).
Going undrafted in 2016, Gary started his career in the NBA G-League, signing with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He made his NBA debut on April 2, 2017 with the Milwaukee Bucks. During the 2017-18 season, Gary appeared for both the Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. Gary signed with the Washington Wizards during the 2018-19 season, but primarily played in the G-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. After averaging 21.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 3.2 steals in 16 games with the South Bay Lakers to begin the 2019-20 season, the Washington Wizards decided to bring Gary back. In his first game of the season, he posted 10 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals. The Washington Wizards guaranteed his contract for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. The following season, Gary appeared in 10 games for the Golden State Warriors. Through his tenacious dedication to defense and improved outside shooting, Gary became an integral part of the Golden State Warriors Championship run in 2022. He posted 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. With the help of Gary’s defensive contributions, the Warriors went on to win Game 6 and he won his first NBA Championship. Gary and his father became the fifth father-son duo to win an NBA title.
In 2021, Gary established the Gary Payton II Foundation. The non-profit acts as a conduit for dyslexia awareness by supporting early screening, detection and certified assessment for youth and young adults with language-based learning challenges. Diagnosed with dyslexia as a second grader, Gary has made it his mission to advocate, support and empower others to overcome fear and find their voice. In January 2022, Gary received the NBA Cares Community Assist Award in recognition of his ongoing support of youth with learning disabilities and passion to uplift children facing other hardships. The monthly honor recognizes a player who best demonstrates the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities. Gary’s outreach was recognized once again a few months later by earning the NBA’s Bob Lanier Community Assist Award for his sustained community outreach in support of youth over the course of the season.