Warriors’ Gary Payton II kept his promise of becoming a college graduate and secretly delivered diploma to his mother – Basketball Insiders


A long time ago, Gary Payton II had promised his mother he would become a college graduate some day, even though he made it as a profesional basketball player. Today, the 30-year-old can finally say it’s a reality, as he’s shared publicly that he’s earned a degree from Oregon State.

However, he kept this a secret for quite some time, because the first person to recieve the news of his latest accomplishment was his mom, as the player presented her with the diploma in person.

The emotional day came none other than this past Friday morning, ahead of Game 6 of the first-round playoff series against Sacramento, which also resulted in a historic victory for the Warriors.

As Gary recalls it, Monique Payton returned to his son’s home after getting coffee. He told her please not to spill, and as she looked below, there was the diploma of the player’s degree in human development and family science.

“I was so surprised!!!” she proudly wrote in a text. “I had no idea he was going to complete his degree! I had forgotten all about it! Thank God he didn’t forget or break his promise!”

In spite of this, she did receive warning of his efforts a couple of weeks ago, but she felt in disbelief as he sent her a photo of the paper. “I was like, ‘No freaking way,’” she recalled. “He said ‘love you, I got the hard copy when I see you.’ I was like ‘Heck yeah!’ and he said ‘Job done.’”

This achievement is especially notable for Payton, considering what a challenging campaign this has been for him and the Warriors. He not only helped his team conquer last year’s championship, but he was traded off to Portland in July, only to return this season to the Bay Area.

After sitting out while recoring from an injury linked to his offseason core muscle surgery, now he’s been crucial for his squad during this last playoff run.

Not even his teammates and coach at Golden State were aware of his off-court success

Now that the news is out on the open, Payton smiled as he chatted about his latest personal victory.

“It’s really for mom,” the player expressed after warming up at Chase Center. “I made her a promise to get it done and finished when I left school, so just keeping my word and got that to her. Hope you enjoy it, love it and it was for you.”

The squad’s star Stephen Curry had also received his degree from Davidson last season, so he felt just as excited for his teammate’s triumph. “That’s phenomenal,” he said. “He was keeping it on the down low. That’s big time.”

Coach Steve Kerr was another who had not idea about Payton’s off-court preparation for his degree, and now that he’s seen what he’s accomplished, he feels immense admiration for him.

“We have a lot of guys who are really committed to the game but committed to themselves and trying to better themselves and do things in the community and try to impact the Bay Area,” Kerr said. “For Gary to get his diploma, Steph to do that last year, it’s all part of sort of that process of continuing to grow and evolve as people. So I’m very proud of him.”

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