Robert Horry sank umpteen three pointers and won seven NBA Championships: two with Hakeem Olajuwon at the Houston Rockets; three with Kobe and Shaq in LA; and two in San Antonio with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. We sat down with him to talk through his epic career.
On Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon
Dream’s not a very talkative person – he’s the kind of person who likes to sit back and figure people out. Halfway through that first season, we had a team party and he asked if he could talk to me outside.
“Do you care if we win or lose?” he asked.
“Dream, I care more than anything,” I said back to him. “I hate losing, I’ve never liked losing at anything in my life. Why do you ask?”
“You never show any emotion on the court.”
I looked at him and said, “You never show any emotion either! Do you care?”
“Good point,” he said.
After that we became best of friends, because he understood that I knew the game and that you don’t have to play off emotions because emotions can sometimes kill your game.
On his big game temperament
It actually comes from my mum. My mum used to play me at cards and lots of board games. I used to lose and get mad, and start throwing everything around, and she’d say “Don’t get mad, just learn how to beat me. Focus on the game and learn from your mistakes.” That carried over to playing basketball.
On arriving in LA
So I arrived at a team with a lot of talent and was like, ‘What’s going on?’ We had Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel, Shaq, Kobe. But they’d just been knocked out in the playoffs. We had talent but we didn’t have the right coach – some coaches just come in and coach their system, not paying attention to the players or the talent. The best coaches look at the players, then play a system that’s conducive to their talent, and that’s what Phil Jackson did.
On a young Kobe Bryant
He was just passionate. He wanted to win, he wanted to be the best he could be, and that’s what you want to see from all players. All players can be passionate but some take it to the extreme in a good way. He learned the game, how to use his talent, how to take opponents’ strengths or weaknesses and use them against them.
On life in San Antonio
Coming from a team like LA – who are talked about all the time and are on TV every day, and expected to win a championship – to a team who are going to win a championship that nobody expects. Just a quiet team, who were workmanlike on the court, didn’t make headlines for notoriety or anything. When I was there, the biggest thing we had was who Tony [Parker] was dating. There was no pressure at all that would come our way, and that was perfect. You want to be stealth-like, and then just creep up on other teams.
How he’d like to be remembered
Just a guy who played the game, loved the game and could do a bit of everything. I hate the term that people use now, ‘a two-way player’. No, he’s a basketball player, that’s what you are supposed to do, play both ends of the court. It’s not American football with an offence and a defence that aren’t on the field at the same time – basketball is meant to be played at both ends of the court. Yeah, some guys are better at defence, some at offence, and some are pretty good at both, like Jordan, Kobe and Dream, but everyone should be able to do both.
On the critics
I don’t really worry about it, because everybody has an opinion. You’ll have guys who say I didn’t score enough. The bottom line is, would you have liked to have me on your team? And most people would, because I was a winner. I got the job done, I was that person – if you need a secret ingredient to make it better, that was me. And I think a lot of people forget that. They wanna go on about this and that, but at the end of the day I was a winner, and I made every team I played with better.
All-time starting five teammates
Oh now, that’s easy: Clyde Drexler, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Shaq and Dream.
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