The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Monday, June 20, 2005

Big Shot Rob

That's all that needs to be said...

...

actually, here's some more words about the greatness of Robert Horry-

Here's the point: Even if Horry had retired in 2003, we would have remembered Big Shot Bob for life. But he saved his defining moment for Sunday night, throwing a rattled Spurs team on his back in Detroit and making … I mean … it would almost demean what happened to write something like "some huge 3-pointers" or "a number of game-saving plays." Considering the situation (a budding Spurs collapse that seemed eerily reminiscent of the 2004 Lakers series), the circumstances (nobody else on his team was stepping up) and the opponent (one of the best defensive teams ever, playing at home), Horry's Game 5 ranks alongside MJ's Game 6 in 1998, Worthy's Game 7 in 1988, Frazier's Game 7 in 1970 and every other clutch Finals performance over the years. If Horry hadn't scored 21 of his team's last 35 points, the Spurs would have been "Dead Man Walking" heading back to San Antonio. Instead, they're probably going to win the title Tuesday night.

Horry's career has always been a nice litmus test for the question, "Do you understand the game of basketball or not?" Nearly all of his strengths aren't things that casual fans would notice. He's the kind of guy who would be useless on the "And 1" tour. For instance, he's a terrific help defender who constantly covers for his teammates. He's big enough to handle power forwards and quick enough to handle small forwards. He picks his spots and only asserts himself in big situations when his team truly needs him. He doesn't care about stats or touches – at all – which gives him something in common with maybe 2 percent of the league. And he gets better when it matters. What more would you want from a supporting player?

Here's the thing about Robert Horry, it's not that he couldn't have been an all-star player, it's that he never wanted to be. Remember when Danny Ainge in Phoenix tried to make him one, which led to Horry throwing a towel in Ainge's face? He had the size to post up 3s and the speed to blow by 4s. Add that to his 3-point range, and he's everything every NBA scout and coach wanted Keith Van Horn and Rasheed Wallace to be. Basically, he's perfectly fine hanging out with the guys and not preening over touches like Shaq or Kobe. And that's why it's been so hard to define him outside of the playoffs. Most players who have the talent to became supa' stars don't because they just don't have 'it'- the gall to take the last shot, to rise up when their team needs it most, to finish someone off at the end of a game. Horry does, he just didn't want to.

Bill Simmons is right, a national dialogue needs to be begin about whether or not Robert Horry deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.