The Gary Payton strain is a weed slam dunk

gary payton strain basketball

Seeking a hall of fame sesh? The Gary Payton strain may be one for the history books.

Named for the Seattle Supersonics legend, Gary Payton broke the mold for athletes in cannabis. As more current and former NBA players tout their affinity for the plant, the Gary Payton strain gave them something to strive for: a weed legacy.

This weed all-star boasts uplifting cerebral effects, giving new meaning to the term buzzer beater. A dazzling spectacle of emerald green and sparking trichomes, the nugs are as brilliant as a championship ring. Overloaded with THC and brimming with terpenes, this hybrid strain will leave you feeling like you just won the big game.

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gary payton strain
The Gary Payton strain is an all-star weed variety. Photo: GreenState/Getty

Where did the Gary Payton strain come from?

The Gary Payton strain was developed through a collab with Cookies and Powerzzzup Genetics. A cross of Snowman and The Y, the 20th version in the pheno hunt was considered to be the champion. The creators instantly thought of NBA great Gary Payton, who wore the number 20 on the court.

The strain was considered a slam dunk, creating massive hype on social media. The Cookies team connected with Payton, asking if he wanted to lend his likeness to the iconic blue branding.

“The vibe was right and we both decided to change the game together,” Cookies founder Berner said in a press release when the Gary Payton strain officially hit stores. “Think about it: this is like the Wheaties box for the weed game and we were the first to pop it off.”

Gary Payton genetics: an all-star lineage

Gary Payton was created by crossing a Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) variety known as Snowman (aka Snowman OG) with a sativa-dominant favorite known as The Y, also called Y Griega. Both parents boast all-star ancestors such as Afghani and Durban that when combined were destined to create weed royalty.

GSC revolutionized the cannabis scene, putting dessert strains front and center for the better part of a decade. A descendant of OG Kush and Durban Poison, GSC is the perfect marriage of chill indica strain and uplifting sativa.

Y Griega is a sativa strain known for its delightfully floral bouquet and energizing effects. Itself a cross of the coveted Amnesia Haze and the mysterious Kali Mist, The Y’s family tree can be traced back to some of the original landrace strains from Mexico, Colombia, and South Asia.

A Cannabinoid and terpene alley-oop

Gary Payton is a potent variety typically containing high THC levels. The current offering at the Berner’s on Haight in San Francisco has 33 percent THC. The minor cannabinoid CBG sometimes expresses in Gary Payton, making up close to one percent of the cannabinoid content.

When it comes to terpenes, this cannabis strain is a unique blend of sweet and spice. The dominant terpenes are peppery caryophyllene, citrusy limonene, and evergreen pinene. The resulting flavor profile is reminiscent of an enchanting farmer’s market, filled with intoxicating scents of zesty fruit and inviting floral arrangements.

Gary Payton strain effects: a full-court high

gary payton strain cannabis nugs
Gary Payton nugs have championship ring-worthy glimmer.

The Gary Payton strain is a balanced hybrid. It offers a happy, euphoric high followed by a Zen-like state of serenity. Smoking Gary Payton feels like standing on the first place podium after overcoming the odds to take the final trophy.

For many, the experience starts off with a quick bank shot right to the dome. The pressure behind your eyes dissipates, and a smile quickly comes creeping in. Once you’ve secured stoner victory, the high spreads down your body elevating you to the winner’s circle. 

With the Gary Payton strain being so potent, beginners may want to practice their layups before joining the big league smokers. One or two tokes could easily be enough to get on the level, and too much could lead to side effects like paranoia—not an elite experience.

Is Gary Payton weed easy to grow?

Gary Payton is not necessarily a first-time home grower’s game. The plants can be finicky if not given just the right inputs, and produce moderate yields. The genetics also tend to be pricey, due to their coveted nature. Just like tickets to a hot matchup, these genetics are in high demand.

If you are lucky enough to have success growing the Gary Payton strain, you can expect flowering to happen in eight to nine weeks. This cultivator on Reddit saw brilliant green and purple buds using coco coir as a substrate.

The Gary Payton strain is one for the ages

Setting the stage for a new era of collabs in cannabis, Gary Payton showcases what can happen when you combine powerhouse genetics with a superstar name. Other athletes were quick to get in the game, with weed strains bearing the names of basketball players like Allen Iverson and Nikola Jokic now on menus across the country. 

As stigmas around cannabis erode, the number of all-star sports heroes gracing the front of eighth bags will only continue to grow.

rachelle gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist, Emerald Cup judge, Budist critic, and editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter