Thomas told David MacKay of CloseUp360 that Payton was his favorite player growing up. He added that most aspiring players back then wanted to be like Payton because of his killer mentality inside the hardcourt. He also added that his father used to bring him to Seattle Supersonics game at least once a year.
“I looked up to Gary Payton. I feel like I got my trash-talking from him,” Thomas said. “I think everybody that was raised watching him kind of tried to emulate him, especially trash-talking and being the killer that he was. Gary Payton was my favorite player growing up here.”
The 30-year-old point guard will look to bring the same mentality when he starts a new chapter of his career. The former Washington standout signed a one-year deal with the Wizards, where he will try to bounce back from two consecutive disappointing seasons.
Thomas split the 2017-18 NBA season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles, where he failed to make a significant impact. He signed a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets last season but also did not get a lot of chance to contribute a lot, as he only posted 8.1 points and 1.9 assists in 12 games.