The opening game of the '93 Finals is 90 minutes away, and Horace
Grant is stretched out in front of his locker in the America West
Arena, reading a U.S. News & World Report story about South Central
Los Angeles one year after the riots there. When a reporter asks
about his pending task -- guarding Charles Barkley -- Grant marks his
place with a finger, looks up, answers the question, then resumes
reading as the reporter departs.
''I like learning about people,'' Grant says. ''Playing basketball
is one thing. But people in different situations, different worlds,
that's what is really intriguing.''
Even 90 minutes before the NBA Finals? ''Well,'' says Grant with a
laugh, ''I've learned a lot in these last three years. In the first
championship, I was like a little kid; it was new, thrilling. The
second year I was more mature, so there was a little more pressure.
The third? Well, now I'm an adult. I know how to prepare.''
If that preparation includes increasing your knowledge of world
events while your teammates are getting taped, so be it. Who's to
argue with success? Grant, 28, played an integral role in all three
championships. Over that span he was the team's leading rebounder
with 9.3 per game and ranked third in scoring -- behind the big two
-- with 13.4 points per game.
Moreover, with his massive strength under the basket, the 6 ft. 10
in. Grant has helped transform the position of power forward. ''He is
the quickest forward in the league,'' says center Bill Cartwright,
''and when he added the muscle, he became one of the strongest.''
The muscle didn't come for a couple of years. When the Bulls made
Grant the 10th pick in the 1987 draft, he was a 200-pounder from
Clemson. Eventually he grew tired of the incessant batterings he was
taking and started training with the Bulls' strength coaches. Soon he
weighed 235 pounds, which meant fans could finally tell the
difference between Horace and twin brother Harvey, who was traded to
the Portland Trail Blazers on June 24. Horace is the one with biceps.
Grant changed his off-court M.O., too. Three years ago he joined
the Pentecostal Church and began reading the Bible instead of closing
clubs. He and Scottie Pippen had been famous around town for their
late-night exploits, but Grant tired of the life-style and set about
becoming what he calls ''a better person.'' The two players have
somewhat drifted apart.
''It's been an interesting year,'' says Grant. ''There's been a
lot of controversy, but I guess it's all worked out. I've learned a
Especially about people. )