Robert Horry on Charles Barkley: “A Guy Who Doesn’t Work Hard”

By Vincent Frank
San Antonio Spurs Robert Horry smiles as he answers media questions before practice for their NBA Finals basketball series against the Cleveland Cavaliers in San Antonio, Texas, June 8, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)

Back in 1996, Robert Horry was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Phoenix Suns as part of a package for current Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.

Nearly 20 years after the fact, it appears that Horry still isn’t over that trade. Speaking about a wide range of NBA topics, including this year’s NBA Finals, Horry recently had this to say on Huffington Post Live:

“Now they (the Rockets) bring in Barkley, a guy who doesn’t like to practice, a guy who doesn’t work hard. And you would have added us to the mix so it’s two vets and two young, we would’ve had a great team. But no, they think, ‘we’re going to bring in Charles.’ But hell you just realize Charles didn’t win anything in Phoenix, he didn’t win anything in Philly.”

That has to hurt Sir Charles right where it counts.

We aren’t entirely sure where that came from. Barkley may have struggled with his weight during his extensive NBA career, but he was one of the hardest workers I have ever seen on the court. In terms of practice, it’s probably not a big surprise to learn Barkley didn’t give it 100 percent in between games.

Horry did expand on his point by indicating that Barkley was part of the larger issue in Houston. In addition to Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, there were three shoot-first players on a Rockets team that failed to live up to expectations following the Barkley trade.

“Sometimes you have too many chefs in the kitchen. Think about it. You had Clyde (Drexler), you had Dream (Olajuwon), and then you had Charles. Those are three scorers, and there’s only one basketball,” Horry said. “Most teams only have 2 good scorers, and I think he was just too much for that team.”

Now, there’s a solid point. Players who fill a specific role—similar to the role Horry played in the NBA—are important in the grand scheme of things. Neither Cleveland or Golden State would be here if it weren’t for certain bench players who bring something different to the table—something other than scoring.

In terms of Horry’s overall criticism of Barkley and any bitterness he may hold regarding the aforementioned trade, he probably would be best suited letting it go. In addition to earning two NBA titles with Houston, he won five more with the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs in his final 11 seasons in the Association. Comparatively, Barkley failed to win a single title in his career.

Photo: USA Today Sports