SEATTLE — NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton will be honored at Friday night's Seattle SuperHawks basketball game.
"Gary Payton Night" will honor the Seattle SuperSonics star who has been a supporter of the SuperHawks, one of the newest teams to join The Basketball League. This is the inaugural season for the team.
KING 5 spoke to Payton exclusively this week about the SuperHawks and what it means for a Sonics return to Seattle.
The SuperHawks roster features players working to get a shot at the NBA.
Payton's son, Gary Payton II, was a PAC-12 star playing for Oregon State. He did not get drafted into the NBA.
Instead, he worked his way through the minor league system and eventually landed with Golden State Warriors. He won a championship with the team last season.
"He's made it, you know, with the Golden State Warriors - won the championship," Payton said about his son's career. "He didn't get paid the big money, then to leave and then get traded back to them. Listen, this is all about a drive, you know, I'm saying these players understand that then when they get in this thing, just to do the right thing, be that basketball player, be that great teammate, and do what you have to do."
Payton said he sees that drive in players on the SuperHawks team.
"What they're doing now, they're number one in their division right now," Payton said. "They're playing very well, you just got to keep it up. Once you do that and you become that team."
Payton said scouts are watching TBL games and always looking for "overlooked" talent.
"They recognize a player that can play hard, that can be that player, a person who could change the game, like my son does, he changes the game," Payton said. "He doesn't have to score to do that, but he does everything else. He gets rebounds, he gives top blocks, he gives a good steal."
Excited about the SuperHawks' success so far, Payton said the timing is right to bring back the Sonics.
"This can be our team, like a G League," Payton said. "If and when the Seattle SuperSonics come back, then that will be our avenue to bringing people up. I know if the Seattle SuperSonics, when they come back, they're going to want this team to be that."
Payton said the Seattle Kraken launch and Climate Pledge Arena were the first steps to showing the NBA that Seattle is ready for the Sonics to come back.
"That arena was a big thing for us...when [NBA Commissioner] Adam Silver came there on the opening night of the Kraken a year ago...we showed them that we have one of the best arenas in the world, and in the in the United States," Payton said. "That was a big deal."
Tickets for Friday's Gary Payton Night are available. Click here for more information.
WATCH: KING 5's full interview with Gary Payton.
WATCH: KING 5's five questions with Payton covering sports, music and food