Skip to content

NBA Star Gary Payton II Surprises Mom With College Degree Just Before Playoff Game

NBA Star Gary Payton II Surprises Mom With College Degree Just Before Playoff Game

He kept his promise!

Gary Payton II is a veteran NBA player and the son of iconic NBA Hall of Famer and shoe designer Gary Payton, Black Enterprise reports. The 30-year-old helped lead the Golden State Warriors to a championship last year and has his hands full with playoffs this year as his team prepares for their first games of the Western Conference semifinals. Despite his numerous accomplishments, he still made time to keep a promise to his mom, surprising her just before Game 6 last week by presenting her with his college degree. 

“I was so surprised!!! I had no idea he was going to complete his degree! I had forgotten all about it! Thank God he didn’t forget or break his promise!,” Monique Payton told reporters. 

The NBA star earned his bachelor’s in human development and family science from Oregon State, sending a picture of the degree via text message to his mom just before he suited up to take the court. Payton II said even though he’s done a lot, it was the one thing he needed to finish to keep his commitment to his mother. 

“It’s really for Mom. I made her a promise to get it done and finished when I left school, so just keeping my word and got that to her. Hope you enjoy it, love it, and it was for you,” said Payton II. 



His degree comes just one year after his teammate Stephen Curry went back for his college degree. Curry, too, dropped out of college to pursue a career in the NBA, returning 13 years later to earn his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Davidson College. While Curry didn’t attend his ceremony, tied up with last year’s championship games, he did celebrate the accomplishment on social media, writing “Class of 2010…aka 2022 but we got it done! Thanks to my whole village that helped me get across the finish line. Made the promise when I left and had to see it through. Official [Davidson College] alum.”

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said it's good to see players like Curry and Payton II still pursue their dreams and set a good example for the community after all they’ve done.

“We have a lot of guys who are really committed to the game but committed to themselves and trying to better themselves and do things in the community and try to impact the Bay Area. For Gary to get his diploma, Steph to do that last year, it’s all part of sort of that process of continuing to grow and evolve as people. So I'm very proud of him,” said Kerr. 

We’re proud too! Congratulations Gary and remember, Mom always knows best!

Cover photo: NBA star Gary Payton II surprises mom with college degree just before playoff game/Photo Courtesy of Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group