(Originally published on June 20, 2011)
Everyone can’t be a superstar in the NBA. Only a select few have the talent and drive to ascend to unseen heights. But great teams always have excellent role players and no role player has the number of moments that Robert Horry does.
Horry was never an All-Star, never made an all-NBA team, but no player was more dangerous when the clock was winding down. Horry has made a career off clutch, game-winning shots, and he has seven championships to his credit because of it, including three with the purple and gold.
Horry turned 44 today, and in honor of his birthday, we at Lakers Nation present to you Robert Horry’s top five moments with the Lakers.
5. Buzzer Beater vs. Indiana Pacers
Please excuse the poor resolution, but this was a regular-season game between the Lakers and Pacers in 2003. The Lakers had won three straight titles and were attempting to win a fourth straight ring.
At the end of this tough game with the Pacers, the Lakers threw the ball down to Shaq in an attempt to win the game, but the ball was deflected out to Horry, how ironic.
Horry would square up and knock down the jumper to win the game, letting the Staples Center crowd know that he could still step up and knock down the clutch shot when needed.
4. Horry Creates a Poster with Dikembe Mutombo
In the 2001 NBA Finals the Lakers were on their quest to a second straight championship, but standing in their way was Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers.
At this point in his career, Horry was not known as much for his athletic exploits, but he could still rise up when necessary.
The Sixers had brought in Dikembe Mutombo to anchor their defense, but Robert Horry completely ignored that during Game 3.
Horry would drive down the paint in the fourth quarter and create a Final’s poster as finished with an emphatic dunk over the finger waving Mutombo.
3. Robert Horry’s Shot vs. Blazers
In the 2002 opening round of the playoffs, the Lakers faced an old foe, the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers had ended the Blazers’ season two consecutive years and were looking to do it the third year.
Game 3 at the Rose Garden, the Blazers played a good game throughout, but the Lakers still had a chance to win it in the end.
As the seconds were winding down and the Lakers down by two, Kobe would drive down the lane as Scottie Pippen inexplicably left Robert Horry alone in the corner. Kobe immediately dished it out and Horry would knock it down right in front of the Blazers’ bench.
The shot would give the Lakers the win, and their second straight sweep of the Blazers in the first round of the playoffs.
2. Robert Horry Silences Philadelphia
Back to the 2001 NBA Finals, the Lakers faced a gritty Philadelphia 76ers team, led by NBA MVP Allen Iverson. The teams split the first two games, making for a crucial Game 3 in front of a hostile Philly crowd.
The game came down to the wire, but luckily the Lakers had Big Shot Rob which only meant bad news for the Sixers.
With a one-point lead with less than a minute the Lakers would seal the deal when Brian Shaw dished the ball to Horry in the corner and without hesitation knocked it down.
Horry was huge in the game, scoring 15 points off the bench, but no shot was bigger than that one to give the Lakers the lead as they went on to win the game and the series.
Only one other shot, that is one of the great playoff moments in NBA history tops this play.
1. Horry For The Win
This is one of those moments that every Laker fans will remember forever. Absolutely amazing! The Lakers were facing their biggest challenge to their dynasty, the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings had a 2-1 series lead and with Game 5 to be played in Sacramento, a King’s victory would have given the Kings a possibly insurmountable series lead.
Kings center Vlade Divac missed one of his two free throws meaning the Kings had only had a two-point lead with just a few seconds left. This next sequence must have been one of the most nerve-wracking but exciting finishes of all time.
Kobe drove the lane, but Divac came over to challenge, forcing a missed shot. Shaq would get the rebound but Divac was able to challenge the follow, forcing another miss. In an attempt to run down the clock Divac deflected the ball towards the three-point line, but who was there to catch and shoot? None other than Robert Horry as he nails the three to win the game and more importantly even the series at two games apiece.
The Staples Center crowd erupted and that shot instantaneously became one of the greatest moments in NBA history. The Lakers would go on to win the series and their third straight championship. But this one-shot would serve as the highlight of Horry’s career.