Robert Horry will be eligible for the 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class, as he
retired granted mercy to his opponents five years ago. Horry was a pretty good player for a really long time. He did good things in four years at Alabama and spent 16 seasons as an early incarnation of the stretch four with the Rockets, Lakers and Spurs. Most notably, he won a lot of playoff games with those teams ... and championships, seven of them.
In those championship runs, he hit a number of big shots. His nickname is Big Shot Bob for a reason. (He did try to change his nickname to Big Shot Rob, but that request was denied by the Basketball Gods under the provisions of the Shaq Edict: If Shaq gives you a nickname that is not latently homophobic, you must keep the nickname.)
Horry had a fun, memorable career. Even if you rooted for teams he did not play for, you had to appreciate his guile (as you cursed his name, of course). Horry is only now not an official curse word in Sacramento after he publicly expressed support for the Kings to stay in the city. The magnificent moments Horry had will never be forgotten. (Especially by the victims.) They will live in montage form, on YouTube, scorched into our frontal lobes forever.
So there's really no reason to put Big Shot Bob in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
He didn't have a Hall of Fame career in any traditional sense: he was a role player in 11 of his 16 seasons, and in those five seasons as a featured player, he peaked at 12 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The funny thing about his reputation as a shot maker is that he was largely a poor per-minute scorer throughout his career. He averaged 10.3 points per 36 minutes, peaking at a whopping 12.4 as a rookie. His rebounding wasn't much better, and in fact was pretty atrocious once he became a full-time power forward. His defense was valuable, but he was never one of the top two defenders on his team. (He might have been the No. 3 defender on a couple of his Lakers teams.) He has two claims to the Hall: championships and famous playoffs shots.
So, basically, serendipity. Horry's entire Hall of Fame case is based on serendipity. That isn't to say that serendipity doesn't play a role in every successful career, basketball or otherwise. But the entire case for Horry in the Hall is serendipity. That's it.
The Basketball Hall of Fame as an institution is, frankly, a mess. A lot of ABA wrongs (like the absence of Artis Gilmore and Roger Brown) are just now being righted. The college-NBA imbalance is still out of whack. The international component really throws everything off kilter. The criteria seems wholly uneven. So I'm sensitive to pro-Horry arguments that the Hall is goofy anyways, so why not?
But it still matters. There's still importance in recognizing the very best the sport offers so that generations to come can appreciate what came before. Horry was never among the top three players on his team and rarely among the top five. He played for really good teams, contributed to seven championships and he hit some favorite shots. That is not enough to be recognized as the best the sport has to offer.
However, I do want to see Horry recognized for his achievements somewhere. So, here are some Halls of Fame for which I wholeheartedly endorse Big Shot Bob.
The Serendipity Hall of Fame with Scotty Thurman, George W. Bush, Buster Douglas and Mark Cuban.
The Basketball Bobs Hall of Fame with Bob Petit, Bob Costas, Bob McAdoo, Bob Cousy, Bob Hurley, Bob Boozer and definitely not Bob Weiss.
The Basketball Hall of COUNT THE RINGZ at EPCOT Center with Steve Kerr. Animatronic Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson welcome visitors while taking potshots at each other. It's magical.
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REVERB FROM SEATTLE
When Chris Hansen agreed to pay $525 million to buy the Sacramento Kings, the assumption was that it would pop other franchise values upward. The Kings, after all, were valued at $300 million by Forbes, and something like $350 million or even $400 million would have been the expected cap on market price. The eventual price Vivek Ranadivé paid -- $535 million -- is outrageous, when you think about it.
While next commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, doesn't really say so, the fat price may have had a chilling effect on other sales. Silver attended the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit Tuesday to talk about the business of the NBA, including that record sale.
"As we look at the coming domestic television deal and a great playoffs and Finals, there's a great buzz around the league right now," Silver said [...]. "There aren't any teams for sale but if there were [the price] would be robust."
Here's analysis from Brian Windhorst in that same piece:
This is a significant departure from the last three-plus years, when teams were selling both cheaply and quickly as nine franchises sold, many at reduced values. It may have reached its nadir in 2011 when Michael Jordan purchased a controlling interest in the Charlotte Bobcats for less than $200 million and the big market Philadelphia 76ers changed hands for a reported $280 million.
Exactly. But here's the post-Kings problem: the owners of the Timberwolves, Raptors, possibly Bucks and likely Hawks want to sell at those inflated Hansen-Ranadivé prices ... but the appetite for buying at that level isn't there. Hansen offered up a crazy amount because the Kings were the best relocation candidate available. Ranadivé matched a crazy amount because if he didn't, Sacramento would have lost the Kings. (Vivek has no personal ties to Sacramento, but he and the rest of the vast ownership group are California-based and see promise in the Capitol market.)
Teams went cheap before the lockout because owners were ready to get out of the game and the price was right. But now owners ready to get out of the game are going to expect massive bids. If those don't come, we're going to see a lot of stalemates. That's just fine in Milwaukee, where owner Herb Kohl is one of the biggest reasons relocation remains a distant threat -- he's believable when he says he's not selling to an out-of-towner. I'm not sure that comfort exists in other markets with owners ready to sell and Seattle looming. Will the next team to sell go for an even crazier price with a Seattle move as its driving force? Will any other team sell for a reasonable (i.e., less than $500 million) price? That's the question.
If Seattle isn't involved in another bid in the next few years, it's a real question as to whether this team sales stalemate could last through this entire collective bargaining agreement.
That's got to be the most Ray Allen quote ever. He was talking to the Associated Press about the constant reaction to The Shot all summer long. Fans came up to him and credited him for the Heat's Finals win because of The Shot. He says he was just one contributor to the championship, that the famous shot to seal Miami's Game 6 comeback and send the game to overtime, where the Heat would win, was one piece of the total effort. He's Ray Allen, so it's absolutely no surprise that he's thoughtful on the subject in question. He's thoughtful on every subject.
But turning a little phrase like that to explain why he graciously accepts the heap praised on him for the most important, most memorable of his 3,209 NBA three-pointers ... that's what makes Ray Allen Ray Allen.
That and the three-pointers.
(Side note on The Shot: I've never noticed Norris Cole's premature, persistent celebration. He's the guy jumping at the Miami bench. It's just fantastic.)