Anthony Oppermann, Galveston Daily News
TEXAS CITY — Throughout the course of his 16-year NBA career, Robert Horry earned the reputation of hitting the clutch shot.
His buzzer-beater in Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals helped the Los Angeles Lakers avoid a 3-1 series hole against the Sacramento Kings en route to a third straight title. Three years later, he buried a 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left to lift the San Antonio Spurs to a 96-95 win over the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the 2005 NBA Finals.
Horry, or “Big Shot Rob” as he became known, made a career out of hitting last-second shots when it mattered most. Of all of the dramatic moments, it was a shot Horry made nearly 20 years ago, while a member of the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the 1995 Western Conference Finals against the Spurs, that still stands out the most to him.
“That (shot) was special to me because I was 0-for-8, and I knocked that shot down to win that game and it was against our rival,” recounted Horry. “The Spurs pretty much owned us during the regular season, 5-0, so it makes a big difference when you’re able to do it in a situation like that.”
Seven years after his final season in the NBA, Horry continues to take, and make, the big shot as part of his business career. The 44-year-old, who co-owns the Robert Horry Sports Rehab Center in Sugar Land, was on hand as a special guest Wednesday for the grand opening of the World Gym in Texas City.
In addition to signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans, Horry met with Friendswood attorney and developer Jerome Karam about the possibility of partnering with the gym, which opened Jan. 24 and currently has approximately 2,100 members, to open a rehab center in the Mall of the Mainland development.
“[The rehab center] has a tremendous reputation,” said Karam. “They’re obviously sports-injury focused, and we felt like because they’re so aligned with the orthopedic and other doctors in the community, it would be a really good fit.”
Horry was a member of successful teams on the court — he owns seven NBA championship rings including two from his time with the Rockets — and he has parlayed that success and reputation of being a winner into his business career. The biggest key, according to Horry, was setting aside his pride and seeking advice from others, including former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon. It was a message he shared with NBA newcomers this past August as a guest speaker at the NBA Rookie Symposium.
“A lot of guys are afraid to ask for help; they’ve got too much pride,” said Horry. “I said ‘no, because when you’re broke and don’t have money, your pride is what put you there.’”
While he admits it took two to three years following his playing career to watch NBA games as a fan, Horry, who has worked as an analyst for Time Warner SportsNet in Los Angeles, feels like the 2015 Rockets’ chances in the NBA playoffs hinge not on James Harden and Dwight Howard, but the secondary players instead.
“I care about the guys like Trevor Ariza and Josh Smith stepping up big, and that’s going to be very important,” Horry said. “If they can keep playing at a high level, the sky’s the limit, until they get to Golden State.”