Should Robert Horry be in the Hall of Fame? Wait until the debate starts about Nick Saban-era players | Hurt

Cecil Hurt
The Tuscaloosa News
Alabama's Robert Horry (25) pulls his ears while celebrating Alabama's NCAA Southeast Regional First Round win over Murray State at the Omni in Atlanta, Ga., March 15, 1991. Alabama downed Murray State 89-79 to advance to a second round match-up against the winner of the Wake Forest vs. Louisiana Tech game.  (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

We seem further from a peaceful world than ever these days, with disputes ranging from the trivial to the deadly serious, from politics to sports and the gray area in between.

If someday a peacemaker does emerge and he or she remakes a world where the lion does lie down with lamb, we will recognize our blessings, hopefully, and then proceed to argue about whether they belong in the Peacemaker Hall of Fame.

That seems to be a secondary function of almost every Hall of Fame, from sports to rock and roll to clowns (in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and not for the faint-hearted) that after achievement is honored, there must be an argument about whether that achievement, or the honoree, was really worthy.

Robert Horry's HoF possibility

Former Alabama basketball star Robert Horry found himself in the middle of such a debate last week when his former Houston Rockets coach, Rudy Tomjanovich, used his own Hall of Fame induction as a platform to advocate for Horry.

Alabama fans would generally agree that Horry had the best professional career of the Crimson Tide alumni in the NBA. His old college teammate, Latrell Sprewell, was also a great player, especially with the Knicks, but where the line falls between “fame” and “notoriety” is hard to define, and will probably keep any Hall of Fame doors locked in Sprewell’s case.

On Thursday, Horry had the chance to address the topic himself on Dan Patrick’s syndicated radio show.

“Every person thinks he’s a Hall of Famer,” Horry said. “Every person who ever played this game, unless he only played one season, thinks he’s a Hall of Famer.

“There are some days I do (think I belong) and some days I don’t, to be honest with you. I look at some of the people in the Hall of Fame and wonder how the hell they got there. Then I look at some people and say they do deserve to be there. It’s one of those things that’s debatable. I’m fine with the debate.

”I love it when people say I don’t belong because they don’t know jack (expletive) about it,” said Horry, who has encountered some not-unexpected counterpunches.

“Ask any of my teammates what I brought to the game. Came to play every day and think about it: 16 seasons, I didn't miss that many games. And I played for a long time, I had the most playoff games. ... I know that when I say 'I,' it's a team sport, but sometimes it takes a certain individual to bring that out.”

Alabama's Robert Horry is greeted by NBA Commissioner Dave Stern, right, after being picked 11th in the NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets at Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Ore., June 24, 1992. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

College football HOF

The debate is about to occur again, and not just in a philosophical sense, with Alabama football. Before too much long, the players from the Nick Saban Era are going to start becoming eligible at a far faster rate than the somewhat quota-driven College Football Hall of Fame allows, and drawing the line is going to be almost impossible.

Do you skip over an Andre Smith, one of the most gifted tackles ever to play? What about Julio Jones, a sure NFL Hall of Famer and a seemingly obvious choice except for his good-but-not-overwhelming statistics? Like Horry, Jones transcends numbers – but if he gets in, what do you do with Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley and Jerry Jeudy? DeVonta Smith may get a wing of his own, but not all choices are so obvious.

Would you take A.J. McCarron or Tua Tagovailoa? Neither? Both? By the standards that have governed previous quarterbacks and the Horry Scale of titles won, McCarron is an absolute slam-dunk selection and Tagovailoa may have a tough case.

As debates go in the modern world, Halls of Fame are minor and can even be fun. Criteria change with time, and it will be interesting to see if Horry’s time will come as well.

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