NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton will be hired as the head basketball coach at Lincoln University, ESPN‘s Marc Spears reports.
Payton signed a multiyear deal to coach at LU, a private independent school in Payton’s hometown of Oakland, California. The school is located in downtown Oakland and is scheduled to start a new basketball program in the 2021-22 school year.
“It’s a startup program and a private independent school where I can establish what I want to establish,” Payton told The Undefeated. “I don’t have to go behind anybody to try to make a program become something or keep it going. I can start it off with my own program with what I want to happen.”
Payton hopes to build his program to an established Division I program by scheduling Division I opponents. Two Division I schools — one that includes a Pac-12 member — have already agreed to play LU in the upcoming season.
Payton previously served as a coach with the Big3 basketball league, where he plans to coach this season.
According to Spears, LU athletic director and football coach Desmond Gumbs initially reached out to Payton about the basketball opening in November 2020.
In his 18-year NBA career, Payton played for the SuperSonics, the Bucks, the Lakers, the Celtics and the Heat.
Payton, a nine-time NBA All-Star and a nine-time All-NBA selection, is often remembered as one of the best defenders in NBA history. Payton won an NBA title in 2006 with the Heat.
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