Robert Horry had a 15-year playing career. He won championships at every stop, collecting rings with the Rockets, Lakers and Spurs. By the time it was all said and done for Horry, he was a seven-time champ with a reputation for never, ever shying away from big games and clutch moments.
The only men that have more NBA rings than Horry are seven Celtics that played back in the day. Names like Russell, Havlicek, and Jones (do your Googles on Sam Jones and KC Jones).
Since he retired in 2008, Horry’s become a valued member of the NBA’s extended family. He’s popped up all over the place, from the annual Hall of Fame celebrations, to the NBA Finals, to appearances on NBA TV and the Lakers’ Time Warner Cable channel.
For the last two weeks he’s been touring Europe, again working for the League. He’s been in Malaga, Barcelona & Paris to spread the game and connect with fans. We caught up with Big Shot Rob on the final leg of his trip.
SLAM: What have you been working on with the League?
Robert Horry: It depends on which city you’re talking about. When I was in Spain, we were doing a couple things getting ready for the EuroGames. When I was in London we had some fun time where I was doing stuff with local celebrities with NBA 2K17. Now here in Paris, there’s a lot of court dedication, trying to provide a place to go and play on a good court, a regulation court for kids to try and better themselves.
SLAM: What’s the reception to the game in Europe now? How much has basketball grown?
RH: Each city has a different reaction. When I was in the Hoops Factory the other day, watching all these kids play with a passion and love for the game. And it’s amazing. It was 30 teams of three. And there were so many guys that had crazy handles.
I’m like, ‘Wow, all these guys have handles. At that age, I could barely go left.’ These guys have learned the game. It’s exciting to see them have the love and the passion for it. They went out and just played hard.
A couple of them were asking me questions. ‘What can I do to get better?’ I tried to give them little tips and little drills.
SLAM: Do they know about you and all you’ve done as a player?
RH: Thanks to Tony Parker, a lot of those guys knew who I was. Usually it’s, ‘Oh, you played for the Lakers.’ Here it’s, ‘Oh, you played for the Spurs.’ That has a lot to do with Tony and his influence and the impact he put on the game here.
SLAM: What has separated Tony Parker throughout all these years?
RH: He’s so fast, so crafty. For a couple years, like, four or five years, he led the NBA in points in the paint. For a point guard to be able to get in the paint and take that contact, and shoot over big guys… He just kept on showing you his resolve and resiliance to get to the hole. I look at him and he reminds me of some of the things that Rod Strickland used to do when he would get to the paint and shoot up floaters. He reminds of his quickness off the dribble like a Tim Hardaway. His toughness in there like a Joe Dumars. There were so many things, if you look at his game, that he was able to do at his size. He’s not supposed to be able to do that.
Like, ‘Who’s this Frenchmen that’s coming in with a floater? Who’s this little Frenchmen that’s scoring more points in the paint than anybody in the NBA?’
What he brought to the NBA was amazing. The thing that I like best about him is everybody knew he could get to the hole and drive but he worked on his outside shot so much, and he worked on his three so much that he’s able to knock that down with consistency.
SLAM: Do you have a favorite championship?
RH: It’s definitely my ’95 championship. To not have homecourt advantage and if you go back and look at all the teams we beat–there’s about 10 Hall of Famers that we came across. John Stockton, Karl Malone, Kevin Johnson, AC Green and Charles Barkley. Then you had Dennis Rodman, Avery Johnson and David Robinson.
Then the next round, of course, he recently got into the Hall of Fame–Shaq. Penny and that crew. It was a crazy run. Not to have homecourt advantage, beat the teams, come back from down 3-1 [against Phoenix], sweep Orlando, who was America’s team then. I could go on and on about the fantastic moments we had that during that run.
SLAM: From you and Kenny Smith, to Vernon Maxwell, and then Hakeem, that was an incredible team.
RH: The fact that we revolutionized smallball during that period, too. Being down 3-1 to Phoenix. It’s funny because Charles Barkley was killing Chucky [Brown] and Pete Chilcutt. It was like, ‘Let’s put Robert on him.’ I was like, ‘Oh, crap.’ But it worked out. It gave Hakeem more room to operate and it gave me more room to knock down three’s.
SLAM: What about a favorite clutch shot that you hit?
RH: It happened back in ’95. We were playing our nemesis, the San Antonio Spurs. In the first game, Dennis Rodman didn’t come out. I was 0-9 and I stepped in and knocked down a shot in that very first game. For me that’s special because to be 0-9 and have the confidence to take that shot, it means a lot more to me for my self-confidence and to strive to be the best I could be. That shot means a lot. Nobody ever talks about it. It’s probably not even on film anywhere. But to me, that’s a big one.
SLAM: Do you think we’ll ever see someone win seven championships again?
RH: I look at LeBron James, the fact that he started out so young. He’s somebody that can do a lot of things. He’s probably going to play about six more years, the way he keeps his body up, the machine that he is. He could have the opportunity to bypass me and get close to, I’m not going to say Bill, but I’d say Sam Jones. Sam had 10. I think he’d be close to that range, if he’s able to stay healthy and he stays in the right situation.
Photos courtesy of NBA