Legends can be defined in many ways. Some are immortalized by the points they score, assists they earn, or blocks they achieve. Others are defined by less quantifiable standards. Robert Horry is a legend in both regards. He has the accolades on paper (rings) and the ice in his veins that allowed him to have such a long, sustainable and successful career in the NBA.
Robert Horry is the poster child for what every NBA non-superstar should strive to be. He is in a class of his own when it comes to team accomplishments and clutch plays. Horry was always in the right place at the right time (usually the corner behind the arc). Over the course of his 15 year career (1993-2008), he played over 1100 games spread across four teams. He won a grand total of seven NBA titles during that time. That gives him more rings than most of the legends of the game, including MJ, Kobe, and Duncan.
Horry was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 11th pick in the draft of 1992. I was shocked to find that over the span of his career, he only averaged 7p/4.8r/2.1a. Growing up as a kid, it always seemed like he was a dominant scorer and was always the third best guy on his usually loaded team. On top of that, he only started in 43% of his professional appearances. Did my childhood memories mislead me?
If you dig a little bit deeper, you will find out the real story behind Mr. Horry. This guy never missed the playoffs in his entire career! (What?!) Big Shot Rob may not have been the most dominant player on any of his teams, but he was always exactly where he needed to be and had ice in his veins. This guy was a winner. Below are some notable moments from his career courtesy of NBA.com.
- On May 22, 1995, Robert Horry hit a jumper in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals with 6.5 seconds left to defeat the San Antonio Spurs.
- With 14 seconds left, Robert drained a three ball over an extended Horace Grant to give the Rockets a four point lead in Game 3 of the NBA Finals versus the Orlando Magic in the same year.
- Less than a minute to play, the Los Angeles Lakers were locked in a tied series of 1-1 with the Philadelphia 76ers. With 47 seconds remaining, Horry nailed a deep three to give the Lakers a comfortable lead going into Game 4 of the 2001 NBA Finals.
- As Kobe Bryant found himself smothered by defenders in mid-air, he kicked the ball out to a spotted up Robert Horry who hit the game-winning shot against the Portland Trailblazers in 2002.
- On May 26 of the same year, Vlade Divac made the mistake of swatting the ball out of the paint to avoid giving the Lakers another opportunity to score. Instead, Robert Horry calmly picked up the ball and knocked down the three with no time remaining to give his team a 99-98 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
- During the Spurs’ quest for their third NBA Championship, Robert Horry inbounded the ball to Manu Ginobili who immediately returned the pass to Horry. With 5.9 seconds left, Robert Horry sank the shot from behind the three point line to help the Spurs win a pivotal game five in the 2005 NBA Finals.
- This time, as the Spurs were en route of their fourth title, Robert Horry drained yet another three point shot to give the Spurs a four point lead over the Denver Nuggets in April of 2007.
Robert Horry terrorized the Western Conference for over a decade with 4 different teams, but in my mind, he will always be the third head of the snake lead by the Black Mamba. Horry played in LA from 1996-2003, coincidentally joining the team the same year that they drafted the Kobe and signed Shaquille O’Neal. While in LA, Horry helped support the Lakers to three ‘ships in a row, all while pulling out opposing fans’ hearts with clutch plays.
Number 4 in this compilation is a moment that is sketched in my memory forever. That is the point in time when I fully realized the importance of the corner three. Also, I learned you don’t always have to be the best player on the floor, you just have to be the most clutch player on the floor.
Feature Image Courtesy of: http://www.opencourt-basketball.com/robert-horry-punches-heckler-sons-basketball-game/