Robert Horry was stunned by Manu Ginobili during his rookie year with the San Antonio Spurs
As a 16-year veteran and 7-time NBA Champion, there isn’t a lot that Robert Horry hasn’t seen during his time in the NBA. In spending his career bouncing around the Western Conference, the former hero of the San Antonio Spurs got to see multiple Hall of Famers up close and personal. But there was one that stood out to Big Shot Bob.
Speaking to Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles on the Knuckleheads Podcast, Horry talked about the first time he saw Manu Ginobili play and remembered what stood out most about the 25-year old rookie. His answers were exactly what San Antonio Spurs fans expected to hear.
Spurs fans loved Manu for his creativity and passion on the court. He had the confidence and ability and was never afraid to go for things that other players under Gregg Popovich wouldn’t dare attempt. He was fearless. That attitude is what made him so special to Spurs fans and was exactly what stood out to Horry when he first saw Manu play.
Robert Horry remembers how fearless Manu Ginobili was as a rookie
Horry first ran into Manu when he was still playing with the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2002-03 season. This was right when Kobe Bryant was reaching the height of his abilities. But according to Horry, that didn’t stop a rookie Manu from going right at the Black Mamba.
“Manu killed us. He was going at kobe, he wasn’t afraid of Kobe. He (Manu) was left handed and could get to the hole, shoot floaters, trying to dunk on people. He was a beast.”
Horry would go on to talk about how it wasn’t until he came to San Antonio before the ’03-04 season that he realized just how good Manu was. He raved to Richardson and Miles about how impressed he was by Manu’s athleticism and fearlessness. Given how methodical and systemized the Spurs were at the time, Horry seemed amazed that a player with Manu’s creativity and flair could thrive in San Antonio.
“When I got to the Spurs and got to watch him every day I saw how good he was. There wasn’t a shot he wouldn’t take, or a move he wouldn’t try because he had the confidence, no fear, and the ability to to make whatever shot he wanted.”
Frankly, it is pretty amazing that Manu was allowed to have the freedom that he did with the Spurs. But it didn’t come easy. Pop and the other members of the Big Three often talked about how much of a challenge it was to get Pop to finally accept who Manu was as a player and just let him be himself on the court. But it was a marriage that finally found it’s level and the results were amazing.
Looking ahead for the Spurs, they’ve got a lot of talented young players. And they’ll get another one soon when they select a player in the lottery for the first time since 1997. But try as they might to replicate the on-court performance, they’ll never find another Manu.