Robert Horry cherishes Game 5 performance in 2005 Finals

Published July 16, 2021, 1:25 PMJC Ansis

On June 19, 2005, Robert Horry provided the late-game heroics for the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons.

Robert Horry is one of only nine players in the NBA who has seven or more rings. He won seven championships -- two with the Houston Rockets, three with the Los Angeles Lakers, and two more with the San Antonio Spurs. SEVEN. That's one ring more than Michael Jordan and two more than Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.

Throughout his 16-year career, Horry made a living out of clutch shots and brushed off pressure like no other role player in league history, earning the nickname Big Shot Bob (he prefers Bob over Rob). Knocking down game-winners and crucial baskets in the biggest games was his calling card.

Of course, no NBA fan can forget the buzzer-beating 3 he hit over the outstretched arm of Chris Webber in Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and Sacramento Kings. Watch any highlight film of the Lakers' 3-peat run and that clip will always show up. For casual fans, that shot pretty much defined Horry's NBA career.

But if you ask Big Shot Bob himself, the most notable moment of his career came in the 2005 NBA Finals.

At the time, Horry was already a 5-time champ. He was a member of a Spurs squad looking to capture their third title against the defending champions Detroit Pistons.

In Game 5 of that series, Horry came up big off the bench, scoring 21 points and hitting the game-winning triple that gave the Spurs a 3-2 lead. He went 7-of-12 from the field, 5-of-6 from downtown, and scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and overtime period, including the Spurs' last five points.

"If you think about what I did in 2005 Game 5 (of the NBA Finals), the number of shots I did in the amount of minutes I did, and the way I performed, I don't get talked about. I get kind of skimmed over, they show the one shot at the end of the game, but it was a performance of shots I did. It was a performance of shots with no plays ran for me and I just went out and played basketball and took advantage of my opportunity," Horry said in a recent meet and greet session organized by the NBA for its affiliate partners.

"For me to get in there and outscore everybody without any plays ran for me and gunning it from 3, for me it was a special moment. My dad was at that game, my son was at that game, so when you have moments like that, they're inspiring and they make you feel good that you left your mark in the NBA."

The Spurs eventually beat the Pistons to clinch the 2005 title, bringing Horry's ring count to six. He won another one with San Antonio two years later before leaving the game in 2008. Out of the seven championships, Horry reveals that the first title he won with the Rockets in 1994 remains closest to his heart.

"I think for me, winning our first championship in Houston kind of sticks out more than anything. To be a part of that team to win the first championship ever in all the major sports in Houston, Texas was a marvelous thing because that's how people will always remember you," said Horry. "They always say you remember your first, and the first was extraordinary for me."

Rudy Tomjanovich, who was the Rockets' coach during that back-to-back quest in 1994 and 1995, has been outspoken about the amount of respect he has for Horry. Tomjanovich was recently enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and, in his speech, advocated for Horry's inclusion in the prestigious club.

Horry said hearing his former coach endorse his induction into the Hall of Fame was "a glorious moment."

"I was like, 'wow.' I was floored. I immediately picked up my phone and texted him. A tear rolled down my cheek because you have to think about this: when people get in the Hall of Fame, that is the culmination of all your hard work. That's your time to shine, brag about yourself, and do what you need to do, but he took a moment in his speech to mention me and root for me to get in the Hall of Fame," shared Horry.

"I was excited and shocked. I didn't expect it. Hopefully, his plug will eventually one day help me get into the Hall of Fame."