FOR a country whose passion for basketball is incomparable, Filipinos deserve to see the best players of the world play right before their very eyes.
Robert Horry, one of the greatest clutch shooters in NBA history, is thrilled to be back in Manila for the second time as he talked about the Filipinos’ passion for the game which he said is best exemplified by no less than world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, whom he meet in his first visit here four years ago.
“I think it’s cool, especially for places like the Philippines because the love of basketball is so great,” said a beaming Horry during his 10-minute media talk at the Sofitel Hotel.
The 6-foot-10 forward is in town to help drum up interest for the first-ever NBA preseason game in the country pitting Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets against Eastern Conference powerhouse Indiana Pacers.
The match, part of the NBA Global Games, will be held on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Horry admitted he felt the Filipino’s intense passion for basketball through the 34-year-old Pacquiao, who once shared with him how much he admired the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I remember the last time I’m here, I had the pleasure of talking to Pacquiao. He was talking about basketball and how much he loves the Lakers," Horry said.
“And wow, I thought I was supposed to be talking to you (Pacquiao) being the greatest boxer of all time.
“It’s exciting to see the love the Filipino people have for basketball. I’m really excited for the game and I know there’s gonna be packed house and all the craziness.”
The 43-year-old Horry, who currently serves as one of the NBA’s ambassadors, came to Manila in 2009 to suit up for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA Legends team which played against its PBA counterpart led by Allan Caidic, Alvin Patrimonio, Kenneth Duremdes, Benjie Paras, and Ronnie Magsanoc, along with young stars such as Arwind Santos, Dondon Hontiveros, Enrico Villanueva, among others.
Known as 'Big Shot Rob' for his clutch shooting during a colorful 16-year NBA career, Horry earned the distinction of being just one of two players to have won NBA championships with three different teams.
He won two with the Houston Rockets in his first three years in the league (1994 and 1995), playing alongside star center Hakeem 'The Dream’ Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler and coach Rudy Tomjanovich.
Horry then won three more when he moved to play for the Lakers in 2000-2002, working alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and legendary coach Phil Jackson.
His last two titles came with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005 and 2007 where he played with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and coach Greg Popovich.