Robert Horry won an absurd seven NBA titles during his otherwise decent 17-year career. Three of those titles came with the Phil Jackson-led Los Angeles Lakers while his final two championship seasons were under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs.
To say that Horry had the luck of playing under two of the greatest coaches in Association history would be an understatement.
While attempting to compare all-time greats to one another can be an exercise in futility, that’s exactly what Horry did in a recent interview with the San Antonio Express-News:
“I would rather play for Pop,” Horry said. “The thing that I’d say best about Pop is he would curse you out, (but) he treats everybody the same on the team, whether you’re a starter or the 12th man.”
Horry played four seasons with the Lakers under Jackson, winning three consecutive titles during that span. Meanwhile, he earned another two titles in five seasons with San Antonio.
In explaining his preference for Pop over Jackson, Horry continued:
“He knows how to leave things in the gym because he’s a true believer in family. And that’s what you are when you’re on a team. You’re family. You’ll get in arguments at times, but at the end of the day, I’ve still got nothing but love for you, and I’m going to let it go. A lot of coaches don’t know how to do that, and they’ll hold grudges for a long time.”
There’s no reason to take this as a knock on Jackson. Instead, Horry joins a laundry list of players to throw praise the way of the current Spurs’ head coach.
Jackson may boast 11 NBA titles, including six in a row, but today’s NBA tells us a story of a coach in Popovich that’s among the most highly-respected in the history of the Association.
Some on the outside may not get this due to Pop’s demeanour with the media, but that’s a completely different story than the relationships he possesses with his players.