CWU Wildcats host hoops legend Gary Payton as opposing coach

Image credit: BIG3, Facebook (09/11/21).

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Basketball fans at Central Washington University (CWU) are in for a treat with Hall of Famer Gary Payton visiting campus as head coach of the Lincoln University men’s basketball team.

On Friday, October 29 at 7:00 p.m., CWU hosts Lincoln in what will be their first exhibition match of the preseason. CWU alumni and Seattle SuperSonics fans from across Kittitas County will visit Nicholson Pavillion for what’s sure to be an exciting matchup.

With students back in attendance, Central Washington expects to draw quite a crowd for its first game of the year. Beyond the fact that the campus environment is getting back to normal from the pandemic, Payton will surely draw hoops fanatics from near and far.

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A large portion of the student body is from the Puget Sound area with many of them having grown up rooting for Payton. The face of basketball in Seattle, ‘The Glove’ spent 13 seasons as lead-man for the SuperSonics. Lauded as one of the best perimeter defenders and all-around point guards in the history of the sport, Payton retired from the NBA in 2007.

In his retirement, Payton began coaching in the ‘Big3’ basketball league—a traveling 3-on-3 basketball league full of retired NBA players. He has since returned to his hometown of Oakland to assume coaching responsibilities at Lincoln University.

Fans will give Payton a warm welcome—though CWU officials hope that fans will put their energy toward rooting for the hometeam above all else.


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