The debate over the best era in NBA history is a heated one, with some saying the 1980s, others picking the 1990s, and modern players saying that the game has moved past both of those.

As far as NBA legend Gary Payton is concerned, the best era also happens to be where he made his mark.

In an interview with Boardroom, the Hall of Fame point guard weighed in on the debate and confirmed that he thinks the 1990s was the best NBA era.

“It’s different because we were in a different era,” Payton said. “Our era was us taking pride in more than one thing; this era is about scoring. Our era was about defense, being rough, getting out there, and getting it done.”

“This era is about shooting threes, getting up and down, and entertainment,” the nine-time All-Star continued. “It is what it is, and I can’t knock anyone for it. We might have our opinion about it and judge it, but I played in what I think was the best era ever. I think the ’90s was the best era ever.”

Of course, you wouldn’t expect Payton to say anything else. The Glove made his name as one of the game’s top defensive players in the 1990s, though he did play in the league until 2007.

The nine-time All-Star and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player led the Seattle SuperSonics to the NBA Finals in 1997 and won an NBA Championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.

Let the debate rage on.


About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to