Robert Horry and Howard Beck take us on a trip down memory lane. From Shaq mooning Kings fans to his favorite clutch moment. Plus, Horry tells us his top-five all-time clutch shooters with a surprising person at the top of his list (spoiler alert: it’s not himself).
Howard Beck: What was your favorite clutch shot? ’Cause you hit a ton of them.
Robert Horry: My favorite clutch moment is 2002 … has to be the Western Conference finals against the Sacramento Queens—as Shaq liked to call ’em, and it was with no time left on the clock so you know you won, and it happened at home. That makes it so special, because even though you love to see fans on the road and see them all crying, but you love to do it in front of your fans. And more importantly, to have them chant your name, because playing with Shaq and Kobe, you taking any chance you get for fans to chant your name. So for me to hit that shot against Sacramento, it was so special for me. And even now when they show that overhead shot, I still get goosebumps, man. Because for me growing up a Laker fan and to be able to do that in a Laker uniform, in front of the Laker crowd … outside of winning championships and having kids, that right there in the top three.
HB: I don’t have a great photographic memory for these things, Rob, but I’ve got to believe the two loudest moments during that three-peat were your shot against the Kings and the Kobe to Shaq lob in 2000 against the Blazers. Like the two times where I just remember the place just f------ exploding, absolutely coming unglued. Those were loud, incredibly loud moments. What I always remember from your shot against the Kings, not just that it was obviously an amazing shot, Rob, and a hugely important one. It’s that afterwards, Vlade [Divac] gets up on the podium … and says, “It’s luck shot. Anyone could hit that shot.” And so then you come in a few minutes later at the podium, and I think it was Scott Howard-Cooper from the L.A. Times, if people play the clip on YouTube, you can find it, who says to you, “Vlade called it a luck shot.” Do you remember what you responded?
RH: That ain't no luck shot, I've been doing that all my career. You better read a paper or something. Because I was going to say, you go watch ESPN, but at the time ESPN had did this report on somebody else that I was mad about, so I didn't want to give them no love. It was funny, I don't even remember what it was about, but I was just mad at ESPN. So I said, you better read a paper or something.
HB: And that’s why I love you, Rob, because in that moment, I was like, damn, that is the best endorsement for newspapers—I was at the L.A. Daily News at the time, of course I spent most of my career in newspapers. I was like the newspaper industry should’ve clipped that and played that as an endorsement.
RH: I know, I should have been on the front of the L.A. Times like, yo, Robert endorses papers.
HB: And we needed it! Newspapers were already on hard times then, more so now. But that was one of my favorite all-time exchanges, too. And you guys and the Kings, there was always something. It was either Shaq calling them the Queens, which wouldn’t go over as well in 2022, maybe didn’t go over that well then, either. But there was always a lot of s--- talk/ Phil’s talking trash about them, putting clips of Rick Adelman in the film sessions that they didn’t appreciate when they heard about it. There was a lot of stuff.
RH: The cowbell town, that was the worst one. And Shaq mooning everybody after we win Game 7 in the building. You know, there’s so many things. A lot of people don’t know, when we came in, the fans were throwing stuff at us going to Game 7, rocking the bus, and on the way out, we all were mooning them and stuff. You know, it’s a love-and-hate relationship cause like, you wish you would have had cell phone cameras back then, but then again, you wish you didn’t. Because there’s so many things that we wish we had on tape, on a film, that was so much fun. So I would’ve loved to see Shaq mooning the fans as we left Arco.
HB: Could you imagine? There would have been like 50 people out there all taping it, who would’ve all just had like a shot of like Shaq’s bare ass. That is not a pleasant image to end this on.
All right, before I let you go, Robert Horry, top five clutch shooters. ’Cause you did your homework.
RH: I get asked this question all the time, so I have my top five and I don’t put myself in it because I should be at the top of the list because all these other guys that are named are guys who actually had plays ran for them. And they had the ball throughout the series or throughout a game. You know, for me I didn’t get that a lot of times. It’s like, oh, we’re going to go through a game, play 40 minutes and you know, give Robert two shots. Then O.K., we’re at the end of the game, let’s give Robert the shot, come through for us. And it’s a difference, man. It’s a whole difference, you know?
HB: Or it comes to you by accident, like when Vlade tapped it out to you. It wasn’t like Shaq was hitting you, it was like the opposing center had to. All right, your top five, not counting yourself.
RH: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Steph Curry, and this guy right here is probably number one, Damian Lillard.
RH: And people going to say, Damian? But he hasn’t won anything. But Damian Lillard has hit a clutch shot versus every team in the NBA. Think about that. Every team within the last minute or so of a game, he's come through with a clutch shot. Even though he gets a lot of shots during the game. But Damian Lillard is on my list. You know, some days I might slide Reggie Miller in there, you know, but it varies from day to day, but those are my top six.
HB: Inarguable on any of those. And it’s funny, Rob, because we have all these stats now where you can now go and sort by, last minute, last two minutes, five minutes, scores within two, scores within five, whatever. So we can quantify. That’s how you know that Dame Lillard’s hit a clutch shot against every team because we have the tools to generate those stats. We didn’t have that back in the day. Like, I’m sure somebody has catalogued all of Michael’s clutch shots, Kobe’s clutch shots.
RH: Some “Fred” has done that ’cause they got nothing else to do.
HB: Some “Fred” who’s got a lot more skills with the spreadsheet than I do, because that ain’t me. I’m sure somebody has. But we can actually quantify it and appreciate it now in a different way. And you’re right, I don’t think you need to have won a championship to be an all-time great clutch shooter, we know that Dame has hit some incredible shots. But yeah I can’t disagree with anybody on your list. And Steph, for sure.