Ah, Big Shot Bob -- One of the most beloved players in Houston Rockets history. He won two titles in H-town with the Rockets playing next to all-time great Hakeem Olajuwon, and even overcame an early failed trade to find his niche on the team, complementing the Dream's game and becoming a fan favorite with his clutch shooting.
Unfortunately, Horry eventually was traded in the famed deal for Charles Barkley, spending just half a year with the Phoenix Suns before being shipped off to L.A. to join the Lakers. Horry would once again be a role player next to superstars, this time Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. He would also grow the legend of Big Shot Bob even further.
After wining three titles with the Lake Show, Horry would leave in free agency to San Antonio to play alongside another of the game's all-time greats, Tim Duncan. Horry would win another two titles to give him a total of seven for his career, and also cemented his legacy as one of the greatest clutch performers of our time.
So as one of the few lucky enough to play with such a cadre of mega-superstars, and in particular, great big men, Horry is in a unique position to offer some perspective on who was better between Olajuwon, Duncan and O'Neal. According to a recent interview with Big Shot Bob, it's no contest.
"The Dream was the best. He had everything the other two had, but more. For example, The Dream could do everything Shaq did, but he could also hit free throws. And the truth is, the other two learned from Olajuwon, who was the best center and the best power forward in history. What defines these bigs is not what they could do, but what they could not do, and the Dream could do everything."
This is a sentiment I've agreed with for a long time, so it's great to see it validated by the one man who may know better than just about anybody. Olajuwon was a better all-around player than both.
Shaq was a more dominant pure scorer, but that's it.
Olajuwon was a better rebounder, a better shot blocker, a better one-on-one defender, had quicker feet that enabled him to be a better team help and pick-and-roll defender, was a better free throw shooter and was a more diverse offensive player, which opened up additional facets of the Houston offense by forcing the opposition to defend the entire court. Olajuwon also had faster hands, which made him capable of defending any player on the hardwood, including point guards. He averaged 1.7 steals per game and is still top-10 all-time in NBA history.
Duncan was a fine player in his own right and a great defender (better than Shaq), but he also lacked the offensive repertoire of The Dream as well as the shot blocking ability, and he never once averaged over a steal per game in any season of his career.
You don't see Olajuwon rated over Shaq and Timmy as often as you should (which is always), so thanks to Robert Horry for saying publicly what those of us who spent our teenage years watching the Dream night in and night out always knew: Hakeem was the best we saw, even to this day.