In June 1990, with the No. 2 selection in the 1990 NBA Draft (highest in team history), the Sonics select guard Gary Payton from Oregon State. Payton finishes his career at OSU as the school's all-time leading scorer and sixth leading scorer in Pac-10 history. Sports Illustrated magazine goes so far as to anoint Payton the College Player of the Year.
The Sonics' high regard for Payton was borne out. By 2001 he had been the team's starting point guard for 11 straight seasons and was a seven-time All-Star. And on December 9, 2000, Payton became the SuperSonics' all-time leading scorer, surpassing Fred Brown's mark of 14,018 points.