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08.29.2010 - It only takes one passionate fan to know one. My good friend Glen "the Flash" Antonio had that one drive and that to meet Gary "The Glove" Payton. After fourteen years Glen had finally met his childhood hero. It took us nearly twelve hours and a lot of dozing off.

In some case of the story is the next jam idea was to get up close with the only point guard to win the Defensive Player of the Year. Glen has been tracking the Gary Payton phenomenon since he was first drafted first round second pick by the Seattle Supersonics (Now currently known as Oklahoma City Thunder)...

(Please CLICK on the title for the full article)

Clearly the quote "There's A Will. There's A Way" stuck to Glen's mind. Its something true about being one passionate fan after another and that is no hype.

On Friday of August 27, 2010 was the NBA Asia Challenge which featured four of the NBA Legends. They are Mitch Richmond, Glen Rice, Chris Webber, and Gary Payton. They had an exhibition game with the Philippine Basketball Association at the Big Dome aka Araneta Center.

For Glen it was surreal that he was able to get a ticket to watch the festivities unfold, but was not enough to get close to Gary Payton. The only photo Glen could muster is an image of his hero standing at the back of the bus entirely unnoticed. It was until Saturday when he told us the story of his childhood hero. It was three weeks before he kept asking me for connection to see the press conference, which happened on August 25, 2010 at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

Saturday Desperation

By Saturday afternoon Glen, me and a couple of friends where just looking around Greenhills with our regular toy runs (We collect toys and action figures ya dig?). Well until we saw Mitch Richmond trying to buy a bigger luggage with NBA personnel looking at his shoulder.

The thought went insane as Glen hurried and tagged along to look around the shopping area if a bald black American would roam around to shop. Two of our friends was not able to catch up with all the speed walking that he made me try to breath.

All our planned toy runs where put on hold as we try to look for Gary Payton at the shopping center in Greenhills. Dashing hopes that Glen would meet his childhood hero. In some ways this is the last and might be the only chance Glen would see Gary Payton in the flesh, which made me dizzy all over.

Armed with a marketing experience Glen spoke to Mitch Richmond's assigned security personnel if Gary would be around the area. All Manong would say is that Gary Payton would be lazy enough to get out of his hotel for reason he sent his wife to accompany Mitch instead. But the good part is the personnel gave Glen his contact numbers and suggest to go to Dusit Thani hotel. After trying to get a breather Glen and I decided to meet the rest of the gang at Great Toys Online store to make plans.

In a bold effort Glen and I decided to go to the hotel, where the NBA players are currently residing. The taxi cabs where quite scarce, but this was an effort I could not imagine if I was in his shoes.

Leaving Greenhills with Glen and OJ heading to Dusit Thani Hotel was the plan. Traffic was terrible but we manage to travel all the way to Makati City. OJ had to be dropped off to his place. So its me and Glen heading to the hotel.

We even got ahead of the entourage who went to Greenhills to do last minute shopping including Mitch Richmond. Arriving at the hotel at 6PM felt a bit awkward at first since its like crashing someone's party. But as Glen's mission is not made by any person who writes a blog. As a witness its like filming a reality TV show minus the production crew, because we where the crew who was there to see this unfold.

From 6 to 10PM Glen shuffles around the lobby, and had befriended every person he needs to talk to about Gary Payton's current location.

We where really virtual unknowns in the lobby. We never knew we would be able to speak to the only Filipino, who turns out to be one of the Miami Heat Cheerleaders. She was seated in the lobby, where we are located waiting for someone. Until a group of girls came and whisked her away. We looked dumbfounded that night like waiting for no one, but Glen won't stop sitting around while I try to be patient.

The word is that Solar Entertainment had thrown a special dinner for the NBA guests. We noticed all of the Miami Heat Cheerleaders and the NBA D-League players left that night. Of course with the exception of Maria who was waiting for her relatives.

By past 10PM they arrived and no Gary Payton in sight. We where like staking him out nearly for three hours. To make it short we where pretty much tired, but the look on Glen's face he won't give up.

We left the hotel by 10:30PM made plans to meet up with the rest of the Toy Soldier 118 members (Glen is one of the admins of this group dedicated to G.I. Joe action figures), First he let me dropped off my stuff, and went straight to a KTV Bar in Quezon City (Which originally a Disco Hub in the 90s I have not visited since). For the next few hours until 4AM we stayed and tried to be entertained.

Its one of these rare nights I've been NOT entertained. All I wanted was to accompany Glen again to the hotel and be a happy camper.

Morning Stake Out

By 5AM we took the first cab back to Makati City. Tired and sleepy we arrived at Dusit Thani Hotel again. Glen doing his marketing magic he spoke to anyone, who would help him find out if Gary Payton was still in the hotel. We found out that Glen Rice and Chris Webber just left just when we arrived.

I gave out and fell asleep and as for Glen with Loured Marc in tow they where like security guards. Though Loured Marc who tagged long from the KTV Bar didn't last until 7AM in the morning.

So its me and Glen for the next few hours waiting for "The Glove" to come out. Well rested with in-between naps we hang out. We gather the information he's about have a breakfast with the only remaining NBA player who was Mitch Richmond.

Meeting "The Glove"

By 7:45AM we where anxious until Glen saw a black American bald man looked from the second floor. Glen went to the stairs immediately and quietly as I followed on the next corridor. Glen sees Gary Payton from a far and greeted him like a grinning school kid.

Seeing Glen's eyes light up like it was Christmas was pure epic. I have never seen him like that being a die hard Gary Payton fan was unforgettable.

They had a good three minute conversation asking him to come back, and have something for him to sign after breakfast. Though not a Payton fan I was happy for Glen to finally meet the man, and got introduced where I shake those giant hands. At six foot four Gary Payton was a play-maker for the Seattle Supersonics and was the only point guard to win the Defensive Player of the year. So that's one of the explanations how big his hands like "The Glove".

After finally meeting up with him we snap a few photos and immediate took the next cab to his place to pick up his memorabilia. Thirty minutes later we where back again at the hotel and waited for Gary Payton for the next 2 to 3 hours and this what happened...

... Glen was like meeting an old friend in the hotel, and that has something. This shows you the no need to be someone to meet an NBA star like Gary Payton. I never seen him being passionate idolizing one individual. I'm not envious about but happy for my good friend here who had finally met Gary "The Glove" Payton.

After the meet-up we head for a much deserving brunch and the long sleep. This is one of those epic for the history books and I was glad to be around to witness this story unfold.

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