Salt Lake Community College retires Gary Payton II’s jersey

The Portland Trail Blazers guard appeared on campus ahead of a weekend matchup with the Jazz.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gary Payton II, a former SLCC basketball star, returned to the campus court in 2016 with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers basketball team. Now with the Portland Trail Blazers, Payton II had his jersey number retired at SLCC on Friday.

Salt Lake Community College has retired the jersey of former Bruin and current Portland Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II.

With the Blazers in town to face the Utah Jazz this weekend, SLCC hosted Payton and some of his teammates on Friday night, formally retiring the No. 1 jersey he wore for SLCC from 2012-14.

“We are thrilled to honor Gary by retiring his jersey,” Salt Lake’s Director of Athletics Kevin Dustin said in a statement. “His accomplishments on-and-off the court exemplify the best of Bruin basketball.”

Payton earned multiple awards during his stint with the Bruins, including being named an NJCAA Second Team All-America player as a sophomore.

“I think Gary helped push SLCC to the next level where we became consistently a Top 10 program in the country,” said former SLCC coach Todd Phillips. “His two years he helped SLCC go to back-to-back conference championships, and back-to-back national tournaments. Along the way he made SportsCenter’s ‘TopTen’ and entertained fans everywhere he went.”

Payton finished his college career at Oregon State, where he was a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award and won the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award as a junior.

Payton’s NBA career has seen him make stops in Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Houston and Golden State, where he won an NBA title. The guard signed with Portland in the offseason but has yet to appear for the Blazers as he recovers from an injury.

The No. 2 Bruins beat Northwestern College 91-74 to improve to 7-0.