As one of the greatest clutch performers and winners in NBA history, Robert Horry will forever go down in basketball lore.
No small feat, especially when you consider how the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs veteran did it over 16 seasons with zero All-Star appearances or significant individual awards to his name.
With the 2019-2020 NBA season now in full swing, GLORY had the opportunity to sit down with Horry at the NBA Winners’ Corner pop-up experience in Toronto.
— You’ve said that when you were growing up in a small town in Alabama, despite a lot of kids wanting to be in the NBA, basketball was about something different for you. How so?
For me, it was all about getting a free education. I wanted to get out of my parents’ pockets. I was like, “This is the best way — basketball!” And when I was a sophomore in college and got ranked as one of the top small forwards in the country, I realized, “Oh, I can turn this into a career.”
— You played 16 seasons in the NBA and won seven championships — the most of any player not to have been on the 1960s Celtics. How do you process that?
I get mad at myself sometimes, because I could’ve done more offensively, but I was such a team guy. I knew the right way to win and the right way to be successful. Sometimes you have to take a backseat to others. Winning to me was more important than individual stats. At the end of the day, I won seven championships. I played on great teams. I never lost the first round of the playoffs. I was a part of a lot of great things that nobody’s ever going to be a part of.
— To that end, you’re one of only two players to have won NBA championships with three teams. Take me through that experience of going from one organization to the next.
It’s about doing the role. I always say that I don’t make the product, I make the product better. You’ve got to come in and get an assessment of the team and coaches, and see where everybody is and how they feel. Then, you’ve got to add what you need to the situation. I look at when I first got to the Rockets. It was just the perfect situation for me. When I got to the Lakers? It wasn’t so perfect. I was playing with a lot of guys that demanded the ball. It’s all about finding your peg. Are you a square peg going in a round hole, or vice versa? I found that everywhere I went, I was a square peg going in a square hole. I’m well-rounded!
— “Big Shot Rob.” What does having a bold nickname like that mean to you? Of course, you earned it because of your clutch shooting in important games.
I see these young guys still playing in the NBA. I don’t even think they know my real name, they just call me “Big Shot” because I was a big shot. It always feels good to know that you got a nickname that wasn’t given to yourself. I know I’ll probably never make it into the Hall of Fame, and there’s going to be a lot of guys going into the Hall of Fame that can’t hold a candle to what I did and what I accomplished. And I always say to myself, “If you ask anybody I’ve ever played with, I was probably the greatest teammate they ever had.” I put myself second and put the team first.
— If there is a distinction, what’s more important to you: performing or winning?
They go hand-in-hand. If you perform well, you’re going to win. But performing well doesn’t just mean doing things offensively. It means doing things that make your teammates better.