If it was his ball, you know what Gary Payton would do right now -- he’d take it and go home. Stomping all the way.
Boo-hoo, poor Gary The Pout.
When he doesn’t get to play as much as he wants, or things don’t go according to Payton, he pouts. Right in the middle of the game.
On the bright side, I guess, it wasn’t his wife whining about more playing time for her husband. But holy Glen Rice, here we go again.
This time we get the agent speaking for the bellyaching athlete who is upset because he isn’t playing enough -- never mind that his team has gone 5-1 since the All-Star break.
The Lakers make it 6-1 with Saturday’s win, and Gary The Pout echoes what his agent said earlier: “What I’m trying to do is stay away from controversy. But controversy is going to come if I keep sitting on the bench.”
He played 34 minutes against Washington -- the same as Shaquille O’Neal.
Payton is averaging 33.6 minutes a game. Good thing The Times didn’t place a call to Derek Fisher’s agent or the woman in his life.
Payton is averaging 33.6 minutes a game, and he’s complaining. Just think how many minutes he might be averaging if he hadn’t gotten himself thrown out of so many games this season.
Payton is averaging 33.6 minutes a game, and he’s unhappy. What’s new?
Sure, he has a history of being a grump, but this is more about acting like a spoiled child when the triangle offense doesn’t go his way.
If you’re married, you know how irritating it is when your partner suddenly clams up and starts walking around like a zombie because they think you wronged them somehow. That’s what it’s like watching Gary The Pout play basketball.
His agent, Aaron Goodwin, told The Times, “All L.A. has seen is a shell of Gary Payton,” and he’s got that right.
THE GUY is a veteran. He’s been in the game for years, watched O’Neal and Kobe Bryant play, and so what did he expect?
Did he ask anyone what happens to the point guard in Phil Jackson’s offense? Did all this crying start because he misplaced his blankie?
Payton told us he just wanted to be a little John Stockton and feed the ball to everyone. Then he said he wanted more playing time to learn the triangle offense, although he remained the guy most likely to take a straight line to the basket -- even getting credit for leading the fastbreak. Now he wants us to know he’s unhappy.
We know, we know, he sacrificed and took only $4.9 million this season to win a ring. Some sacrifice, especially when it’s probably your only chance to win a championship and certify your career as a great player before your career is over. Sounds almost selfish.
Now there are hints/threats he’ll take his contract elsewhere first chance he gets, so there -- making sure everyone knows how much he regretted coming to L.A.
And some people think O’Neal, Bryant and Jackson are a load.
Do you want the ball in O’Neal’s hands less? Do you want the ball out of Bryant’s hands the way he’s playing? Do you really want the game to swing on a moody Gary The Pout?
Payton had that chance Thursday night in Staples Center, but with the game on the line, Sacramento’s Mike Bibby was the hands-down winner -- gloves and all. As Gary The Pout learned, it’s tough to turn on the true grit when you’ve been sitting there bitter all night plotting how you’re eventually going to get your way.
AT LEAST when Shaq cries about not getting the ball, he throws in a good dose of humor so folks are left laughing, rather than dwelling on the tiresome rant of another selfish athlete.
OK, so Mitch Kupchak didn’t dwell much on the humor the other day, but that was different. That was Shaq, the tiresome selfish athlete reacting with bruised feelings to owner Jerry Buss’ comments that he’s going to take care of Bryant’s contract first before getting to O’Neal and Jackson. He just got too personal with the boss’ caddy.
Shaq takes a physical pounding on the court every game, but the way to really hurt him is to not treat him as king of the Laker castle. Sticks and stones wouldn’t put a dent in this guy, but well-placed words get him every time.
SPEAKING OF tiresome.... So Henry Bibby doesn’t like the discipline handed down by the Pac-10 to USC players Errick and Derrick Craven. How funny is that? How many players have had to deal with the capricious discipline meted out by Bibby?
Over the years Bibby has steadfastly defended his tough love as the best way to direct immature young men -- only we learn now that the commander is more immature than any of the kids.
His protestations over the one-game suspensions to the undisciplined Cravens, who lost control on the court, are nothing but sour grapes.
“The [Cal player] gets probation and my kids get suspended,” Bibby groused, like the little kid who tells his parents, “Well, Johnny’s parents didn’t punish him.”
Bibby said he considered sitting out a game in protest. Just imagine how many games his players would’ve missed had they done the same thing every time they disagreed with one of his punishments.
TODAY’S LAST word comes in e-mail from Jane Twilley:
“Kevin Brown looked and sounded happy in the paper. Is this because he got away from the Dodgers? Or you?”
The wife has always been sympathetic to Brown for some reason, and said she doesn’t think Brown had anything against the Dodgers.
T.J. Simers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.