Gary Dwayne Payton II is the visionary CEO and Founder of The GPII Foundation. His journey, both in the world of basketball and education, is a testament to his resilience and determination. In the fourth grade, Gary’s teacher noticed inconsistencies in his reading ability, prompting a pivotal moment in his life. His mother, Monique, heeded the teacher’s advice and had Gary tested, leading to an official diagnosis of dyslexia. This diagnosis marked the beginning of a transformative journey.
With unwavering support, Gary received the tools he needed to thrive academically. He underwent tutoring that equipped him with lifelong skills, setting the stage for his success in the years to come. Transitioning from middle and high school, Gary continued to excel, both as a student and athlete. At Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), he achieved remarkable feats, leading the team to victory and earning a place among Second-Team NJCAA Division I All-American honorees. His SLCC jersey now hangs in the rafters as a symbol of his accomplishments. His journey led him to Oregon State, his father’s alma mater. Here, he showcased his talent, leading the team in scoring, rebounds, and steals. Gary’s defensive prowess earned him the title of Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, a remarkable distinction that he achieved twice. He was also a mainstay on the All-Pac-12 First Team.
In the face of adversity, Gary remained undeterred. While he went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, he persevered. He played for various G-League NBA teams before finding his place in his hometown of Oakland, California. In 2022, he clinched an NBA Championship title with the Warriors, proving that hard work and determination can lead to extraordinary success. Gary’s journey isn’t limited to the basketball court; he’s also a champion in the classroom. His story is a testament to the power of resilience, hard work, and the unwavering support of loved ones.