Robert Horry: ‘I don’t think people really appreciate what I did’
Tom Brady just won his seventh championship.
Which ties him with Robert Horry.Horry – who won titles with the 1994 and 1995 Rockets, 2000, 2001 and 2002 Lakers and 2005 and 2007 Spurs – via Melissa Rohlin of FOX Sports:
“A part of you gets mad because I don’t think people outside the NBA family — and when I say ‘NBA’ I’m saying coaches and players — they don’t really respect what I did and they don’t really understand what I did and what I was able to accomplish,” Horry told FOX Sports. “It’s always, ‘Oh he was a part. Oh, he was a part.’ Yeah, I was a part, but I was a significant part.“You can’t have Kool-Aid without sugar, and I was the sugar to most of that stuff.”
Horry won so many rings for multiple reasons:
- He was a solid player. He defended effectively and versatilely. He spaced the floor as a 3-point-shooting power forward in an era where those were scarce. He proved to be comfortable in clutch situations.
- Well-run franchises repeatedly targeted him. The types of organizations that are in championship contention covet players like Horry. His skill set allowed him to complement stars. He also had the personality to fit in the locker room with bigger egos.
- Because Horry didn’t stuff the box score, especially not with points, his salary remained relatively modest. That’s part of why he appealed to top teams. It also allowed the team that had him plenty of financial flexibility to maximize the rest of the roster.
- Luck. Horry played with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles and Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in San Antonio. Few good role players get put into so many great situations.
To extend Horry’s metaphor, some sugar gets scooped from the bag and into the Kool-Aid mix. But it’s random which grains of sugar are near the top of the bag. The lower grains aren’t less sweet. They just happened not to be in the right place.
Horry was often in the right place at the right time.
That doesn’t make him a worthy Hall of Famer or even close. He was never even an All-Star, and that wasn’t just because his traditional statistics lagged. In his very best season (with the 2001-02 Lakers), Horry posted just 6.9 win shares. For perspective, that matches D.J. Augustin and Thaddeus Young in the NBA’s last normal season (2018-19).
But Horry was also a helpful contributor who consistently elevated his game in the playoffs. He did win seven titles. That counts, too.
The people who rank Horry ranks among the all-time greats just because of rings are wrong. So are the people who completely dismiss his accomplishments. Yet, people do both.
So – on balance – Horry seemingly gets treated approximately fairly.