You hear a lot of players talking about forming brotherhoods with teammates during their time at the league. But at its core, the NBA is a business. Ideally, business is never personal--you know the saying. But it's often not that simple.
Enter Rob Horry, aka Big Shot Rob. His greatest hits include the game-winner in the 2002 Western Conference First Round against the Blazers, and another one in that same year in the Conference Finals against the Kings. The man was a threat, but not enough of a threat for the Lakers to stress keeping around.
Short story: Horry knew he was getting paid too much and the Lakers wanted to go after Karl Malone. However, the Lakers executives were being fake, smiling in his face instead of telling him about his eventual release. You'd be pissed, too. Horry explains in his piece at The Players' Tribune.
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.
To play devil's advocate, you could put the blame on Horry for being naive. But still, let a brother know what's up.
But the piece isn't all about hurt feelings. Horry talked about his distant relationship with Phil Jackson despite winning three championships with him, Rudy Tomjanovich being his greatest coach, and what makes Kobe Bryant...Kobe Bryant. Give it a look.