Newest Celtic says he's happy camper
By Shira Springer, Globe Staff | October 5, 2004

WALTHAM -- It took a private jet chartered by the Celtics to finally bring Gary Payton from Los Angeles to Boston. A Gulfstream IV with Payton, his wife Monique, his agent Aaron Goodwin, and executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge on board touched down at Hanscom Field at 9:25 p.m. Sunday.

According to owner Wyc Grousbeck, the special travel arrangements represented "the way a first-class organization would treat a Hall of Fame player who has to get coast to coast." Ainge said the six-hour charter flight presented a valuable opportunity to speak at length with Payton and those closest to him, noting he did not fly to LA to convince or plead with the veteran to report on time. But according to Goodwin, "There was doubt and thoughts of retiring all the way up to [Sunday]" if another situation did not present itself. Goodwin credited Ainge with reminding Payton "it was about basketball first and foremost."
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