Robert Horry Q + A
SLAMonline caught up with the seven-time champ.
by Michael Romyn / @michael_romyn
Another year, another Hall of Fame class, another discussion on who does and doesn’t belong. Take Robert Horry. Should a role player who averaged 7 points and 4.8 rebounds over his careerbeen shrined in basketball’s pantheon? Sure, he won some rings, but so did Jud Buechler.
Then again, Big Shot Rob is known as Big Shot Rob for a reason. The list of clutch postseason plays he made over the years is exhaustive. Whether a member of the Rockets, Lakers or Spurs, Rob always seemed to rise to the occasion. Certainly, without Horry, the Lakers and the Spurs would have a little more space in their respective trophy cabinets.
As for those rings, only six players in the history of the League have won more than Horry’s seven. And, if we’re talking history, he holds the record for most 3-pointers in the Finals, and has played in more playoff games than anyone; in 16 seasons, he never missed a postseason. Hall of Fame or not, Big Shot Rob has earned his place in NBA folklore.
SLAM: Which of your seven rings means the most to you?
Robert Horry: The Rockets in ’95 when we swept Orlando because all the teams we had to beat had top 50 players on them. The first team was Utah with Karl Malone, the second team was Phoenix with Charles Barkley, the third team was San Antonio with David Robinson, so that run was remarkable and in all those games we started on the road. We did some incredible things to win the championship that year.
SLAM: What was the best team you played on?
RH: The best team was the 2001 Lakers team when we only lost one game in the playoffs, that team was great. We could go maybe ten deep at one time. Most teams can only go maybe seven or eight team, but we had a team that could go ten deep, possibly even twelve deep. That team had all-around talent, everybody got along and everybody had one goal in common, you know, to win the championship and compete.
SLAM: So put that team in a series with the ’95 rockets team or the 2005 Spurs, and it’s winning every time?
RH: I think so, because you’ve got to look at overall we had great D, we had a great bench, we had great guard play, we had Ron Harper, Kobe at the guards, coming off the bench we had myself, Fish, B Shaw, Samaki Walker, we had a really good team, I don’t think anyone realizes just how good that team was.
SLAM: You played with some great players in Olajuwon, Duncan, Kobe and Shaq. Who was the best you played with?
RH: The best player as far as straight out talent was Hakeem Olajuwon. He was just very talented for a guy his size. But as far as straight work ethic, the guy that you knew was going to bring it every night was Kobe. He was probably one of the smartest guys you’d ever get to play with.
SLAM: You made a habit of making big shots in big moments…
RH: You know, it’s always up to the coaches to put certain players in the right situation. If a guys playing really well it’s up to the coaches to get him shots and get him opportunities, especially when there are no plays designed for him. I think my coaches put me in good situations where I could get shots and sometimes when you feel it you’ve just got to take over, and that’s what I did in most of the cases because I never had plays run for me.
SLAM: Is clutchness innate, or is it something that can be developed?
RH: It’s just opportunity. When the opportunity arises you’ve got to be able to knock it down and when you knock one down I think coaches get confidence in you, your teammates get confidence in you and it puts you in the position to have that happen again. Every team I was on they knew I didn’t mind taking the shot and nine times out of 10 I was probably going to knock it down, so they put me in a position to do it.
SLAM: Was there a point in your career when you decided to play a role rather than go for numbers?
RH: The goal is win basketball games. I think for me, I knew everybody can’t have the ball in their hands all the time, you’ve got to have somebody who wants to do the grunt work. All the stars that score the points and get all the accolades will tell you their job is a lot harder if you don’t have role players around you. You can go out and do all the stuff yourself, but if you don’t have guys that can step up when you need them on the nights you’re not feeling good, you’re not going to win a championship.
SLAM: Do you wish more players would take a leaf out of your book?
RH: You wish every player would because there are so many guys nowadays that think they can do things when they can’t. One of the greatest things that coaches like to tell a player is a man must know his limitations. If you’re out on the court and you can’t dribble, don’t try to dribble, if you can’t shoot, don’t try to shoot, so you must know your limitations on the court and excel at what you can do.
SLAM: Finally, Kobe’s effectiveness at the end of games has been discussed recently, with some saying he’s not particularly clutch. Where do you stand?
RH: People don’t know what they are talking about. He’s a very good player, he’s the smartest player and he makes people around him better. You talk to true basketball aficionados and they’ll tell you, the best players are those that make the players around them better.