If Warriors ’2022 parade could have a star, it’s Gary Payton II

Photo by CJ Holmes

Gary Payton II said he plans to get JR Smith fully involved in the Golden State Warriors Championship parade. He absolutely kept his word on Monday.

Like the Cavaliers guard, who skipped wearing a top after his team defeated the Warriors in 2016, Payton was on the streets of San Francisco on a bus without shirts, black tones, and an inverted master hat he shared with James Wiseman. most of Monday’s celebrations. But the same courage that made Payton important in the Warriors’ rotation this season made him live a parade.

Payton fired rolling guns at the crowd and sowed Warriors fans with champagne. During the event, he jumped out of the bus several times to greet the fans. And finally, Wiseman was inspired to get off the bus and have fun.

Payton, 29, was the last Warriors player to make the list last season. His season ended with him winning the championship cup and fans shouting his name.

People couldn’t expect that from Payton a year ago. Since playing in the state of Oregon and entering the NBA in 2017, Payton had bounced several times in the G-League through Bucks, Lakers and Wizards. His breakthrough to finally survive this season as a 29-year-old guide to Warriors’ faith in both his defensive skills and his growth on the offensive. He earned playoff playoffs. He came back from a rather ugly game that broke his elbow against Grizzlies in the semi-finals. His timely return to the finals was inspiring, helping the Warriors even participate in the Celtics.

Gary Payton II seemed to spend as much time off the bus as he did on the bus, changing his water gun to blow the fans out of the golden champagne bottle. Video: Chase DiFeliciantonio

So on his long journey to this parade, he earned the right to enjoy every moment of love for the fans.

CJ Holmes covers The San Francisco Chronicle for Warriors. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ CjHolmes22

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