Michael Wilbon hits the mark with his description of Robert Horry as a "closer."
I've long been a member of the cult of Horry because he's one of my favorite kind of player--the Winner.
Winners aren't aren't Stars--they're a much smaller, less imposing subset--but to me they're more interesting. The Winner is the marginal player who is always lurking around championship trophies, not contributing much of anything except for big plays down the stretch (think Danny Ainge). Horry is, even historically speaking, the Best of Breed.
Horry's career average is only 7.5 points per game, yet he has five, going on six, championships and you could make the argument that his contributions to those victories have been so significant that at least half of those teams might not have won their titles without him on the roster.
What makes a Winner? Beats me. The psychology is so different from that of the Star player. That mystery is part of what makes him so interesting.
Side note: You could argue that two Stars--Jordan and Russell--were mixed breeds who were part Winner.
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Having a streak of "winner" blood is what transforms "great" players into "all-time great" players. One sign of winner blood is the tendancy to jump around like a nine year old boy when your team wins. Can you picture Karl Malone doing this? Neither can I. That's why he is merely "great." Can you picture Magic Johnson in this role? Of course. That is why he is an "all-time great."
That reminds me of a show I saw on the NFL channel a few weeks ago on the '70's Steelers.
They were interviewing all the old players, but I was most struck by Terry Bradshaw's comment that the various statistics being bandied about didn't really matter to him. What he was most proud of is the way he played in the big games. And he was proudest when he said (you could see his face light up) "I never lost a Super Bowl".
He may have been dumb, but he was definitely a winner.
The Fresh Prince sure did come up big last night...once again.
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