When we hear the name Robert Horry, we immediately think of one of the greatest clutch shooters in NBA history. We all know the big shots he made during his stints with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, as well as the San Antonio Spurs. Horry also had a short stint with the Phoenix Suns. But the only big shot he made was throwing a towel right at then head coach Danny Ainge — a move he does not regret one bit.
Horry did a Q&A session on Twitter where he addressed all the interesting queries about his legendary career. One fan answered the most interesting question of the lot: "Do you regret not throwing a bigger towel or not throwing the towel even harder?" Horry's answer made him more legendary.
Horry did not throw a towel at Ainge out of irrational anger or a sudden burst of fury but a form of pent-up rage The seven-time champion did not pull a Rasheed Wallace, a DeMarcus Cousins, or a Draymond Green. A year ago, in his podcast, Horry shared the circumstances which led to the towel-gate incident.
"I hated Danny Ainge, I'm not even gonna lie. I hated him. We heat them so many times when he was in Phoenix when I was with the Rockets. Mario Elie is one of my good friends, and in one of the playoff games, he took the ball out - Danny Ainge was a pitcher - he hit Mario in the face with the ball on purpose," Horry said, per the Big Shot Rob Podcast.
Horry set himself up
Horry was rightfully suspended for two games without pay. Yes, the NBA back then wasn't as soft as it is now. But Horry crossed a line that shouldn't be crossed. Ainge may have been his arch-nemesis not too long ago. But they were on the same bench. And Ainge was literally his coach, someone he should have the utmost respect for.
Not long after being slapped with a sanction, Horry was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Cedric Ceballos. The Purple and Gold were already a playoff team then. Shaquille O'Neal proved the perfect fit for the young Kobe Bryant. It was just a matter of adding more pieces, preferably veterans with championship experience like Horry.
The rest, as they say, is history. Horry went on to win three more rings with the Lakers, bringing his tally to five. Horry later won two more titles later with the San Antonio Spurs.
We can say that fate was kind to Horry. He won all those rings because he was always surrounded by the greatest players and coaches. But the towel-gate incident with Ainge somehow proves Horry's active participation in writing his personal history. He knew right from the get-go that he could not co-exist with Ainge. It is impossible to clean the slate, let alone win a title with someone you loath. And so Horry did anything he could to getaway.