I was talking to my friend Supreme last week and he mentioned that he got into a debate with his friend Shawn. It would seem that Shawn was arguing that Big Shot Bobby (Robert Horry) should be in the Hall of Fame for his contributions and clutch performances to seven championship teams. I once agreed with that line of thinking a few years back but my stance has progressively changed. My main problem with putting Horry in the Hall of Fame is this: we’re saying that he is on the same level as players such as Wilt, Russel, Bird, Magic, Kareem, Dr. J, Moses Malone, Karl Malone, Jerry West, Charles Barkley, Oscar Robertson, Kevin McHale, James Worthy, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen and obviously the GOAT (short for Greatest Of All Time). But on the other hand, Big Shot Bobby has more titles then #23. So does Shawn have a valid point? Glad you asked. Let’s break it down and find out.
What are your memories of Robert Horry’s playing days with the Phoenix Suns? People forget that Horry was once traded to Phoenix. During his time there, he was a decent player but did not provide that team with much. On the other hand, he did win rings with the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs. Here’s a quick look at Big Shot’s clutch performances (compiled by Wikipedia):
Horry nailed a jumper with 6.5 seconds left to give Houston a 94–93 win over San Antonio in front of over 35,000 at the Alamodome.
With Houston up by one with 14 seconds left and the shot clock winding down, Hakeem Olajuwon kicked a pass out to Horry, who launched a three over Orlando's Horace Grant, propelling the Rockets to a 106–103 victory and a 3–0 series lead on the way to a sweep and back-to-back NBA titles.
Horry drained all seven of his three-point shots. However, this proved to be not enough as the Lakers lost Game 2 103–101 and ultimately the series 4–1.
With the series tied at 1–1, the Sixers were within one point with under a minute to play and with Shaquille O'Neal on the bench having fouled out for the Lakers. Brian Shaw found Horry in the corner and he drilled the three with 47.1 seconds left to give the Lakers what proved to be an insurmountable four-point lead. The Sixers never recovered.
Down by two with 10.2 seconds left, Kobe Bryant drove on Ruben Patterson and kicked the ball to Horry, who hit a game-winning three.
The Kings led 99–97 with two seconds left when center Vlade Divac knocked the ball out of the paint after Shaquille O'Neal missed a putback layup. The ball came to Horry, who launched a game-winning three-pointer as time expired to give the Lakers a 100–99 victory. Instead of going back to Sacramento down 1-3, the shot tied the series at 2-2 and allowed the Lakers to defeat the Kings in 7 games on their way to a third straight championship.
Horry inbounded the ball to Manu Ginóbili who was cornered by two Pistons defenders. Ginobili returned the ball to Horry on the left wing, who then hit a three-pointer with 5.9 seconds left to give the San Antonio Spurs a 96–95 victory and a 3–2 series lead heading into Game 6. Horry scored 21 points in fourth quarter and overtime to carry the struggling Spurs. 
The Spurs led by one with 30 seconds left when Horry hit a game-securing three-point shot, handing the Spurs their fifth straight playoff victory in Denver.
So the man knows how to make big shots. However, does that make him Hall of Fame worthy? When inducting players into the Hall, the voters usually look at how what you did during your era and your contributions to winning. For instance, James Worthy was one of the marquee small forwards of the 80’s and contributed to multiple Lakers championships; therefore he was granted access to the Hall. So what’s the one obstacle in this case for Big Shot’s case? He’s never really even been one of the top four players on his own team. The guys that make it into the Hall, are guys that were incredibly good and one of the top players at their position in the league. Let’s sift through Horry’s career. Look at the top fours on his championship teams.
Clyde Drexler (one year)
Los Angeles Lakers
Glen Rice (one year)
San Antonio Spurs
See, Big Shot Bobby doesn’t make the cut on any of his own teams. I would have a tough time giving a player HOF status if he wasn’t one of the truly best players of his generation. That being said, I still have not convinced myself completely. Let’s look deeper.
If chosen, giving access to Robert Horry to the prestigious Hall of Fame causes one big problem: it sets a precedent. Think about these names: Bill Cartwright, John Paxson, Vernon Maxwell, Sam Cassel, Kenny Smith, Luc Longley, Steve Kerr, A.C. Green, Ron Harper, Derek Fisher and Glen Rice. Are any of these players worthy of a spot in the Hall of Fame? The players currently in the Hall would probably answer with a song from the South: “Bitch n*gga you can neva eva, neva eva, neva eva get on my level”. And by giving a spot to Big Shot, we would have to consider the possibility of the previously mentioned players making the Hall as well. You see, to me (I repeat, to me, as in my own interpretation) the Hall of Fame is about the best players to have ever lived. When I look at players such as Dominique Wilkins, Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon and Magic Johnson to name a few, I know I am looking at some of the greatest talents that have ever lived. These guys could do it all, and did it at a high level for a sustained amount of time in big pressure situations; whereas Robert Horry had some spurts of success. Still not convinced, let me use the comparison that Bill Simmons from ESPN used. If you were to make a Hall of Fame of the best rappers ever; we would probably have the likes of Tupac, Biggie, Nas, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Outkast, Eminem, Rakim, LL Cool J, the whole Wu-Tang Clan and another list of names attached to that list. My question to you: does Nate Dogg make the cut? Hell no, right? Because Nate Dogg is a guy that you line up with other great rappers and just ask him to do a chorus or a few good sounds like Oohs and Ahhs. I can’t tell you what solo hit songs Nate Dogg has recorded because I have no clue. But off the top of my head, I know of hits such as:
-Oh No by Talib Kweli
-21 Questions by 50 Cent
-Area Codes by Ludacris
-Bitch please by Dr. Dre
-Regulate by Warren G
-Xxplosive by Dr. Dre
-F*ck You by Dr. Dre
All of those songs have one thing in common; Nate Dogg’s name preceded by “ft” (short for featuring). Much like Nate Dogg, Robert Horry is a good complimentary role player; nothing more, nothing less. He has been fortunate enough to play with three bonafide Hall of Fame centers (Olajuwon, O’Neal, Duncan) who have put him in a position to take those shots without fearing failure. Do remember, Big Shot was open in those moments in most instances because his man was double teaming someone. In addition, Horry would never have been pegged as the goat had he missed a big shot; because that is reserved for the stars. For instance, back in 2003, in game 5 at San Antonio, Robert Horry missed a wide open three that would have resulted in the Lakers taking a 3-2 lead in the series. Instead, the Lakers lost and were eventually eliminated, but those moments never get much air time. That’s the beauty of being Big Shot Bob, your heroics are remembered but your blunders are tucked away where no one can remember them.
But in conclusion, the whole debate can be summed up with one question: are you comfortable mentioning Robert Horry in the same breath as Wilt, Hakeem, Shaq and Mike? Because putting him in the HOF puts him in conversations with those players. From my standpoint, I don’t feel comfortable putting him there.
Photo by: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images