Robert Horry was a part of three championship teams as a member of the Lakers for seven seasons, but the way L.A. kicked him out the door has evidently left a bad taste in his mouth.
Horry penned a wide-ranging piece at The Players Tribune which is definitely worth your time. And while there are stories about Phil Jackson, Rudy Tomjanovich and Hakeem Olajuwon that are all of interest, this part about the business side of things grabbed me the most.
Honestly, I left the Lakers with so much hatred for that team. I felt that the way they handled my situation was so wrong. I remember going into the exit meetings after we had won the title and it was my year to opt out. You walk into the meeting and everyone is hugging you, kissing you, praising you.
I said, “I know I make too much money and I know you’ve got a hard-on for Karl Malone.” They had been wanting him for five years, ever since Phil got there. I’m a realist. Tell me like it is and I will respect you more, just don’t go behind my back. I told them I’d stay for $2 million, but they weren’t interested. All I asked them was to allow me to find a team before the money dried up and not to wait until the last day to release me. They told me, “We won’t do you like that.” […] Well, they didn’t do me like that. They waited until the next to last day to release me.
This is what athletes mean when they say, “It’s a business.” Hell yes, we make a ton of money to play a silly-ass kid’s game. But even if you’re the hero, even if you hit one of the biggest shots in franchise history and win multiple titles, your ass can be out the door the next day. […] I actually have five NBA titles thanks to the Lakers. Three from playing with the team, and two from them showing me the door.
Basketball at the professional level is indeed a business. But if things went down exactly as Horry is saying they did, he’s well within his rights to take issue with the way things ended in Los Angeles.