Many of us remember the iconic Gatorade commercial featuring basketball icon Michael Jordan. The list of accomplishments Jordan has compiled during the last several decades need no revision, as his legacy is self explanatory. He has defined pop culture and fashion in ways that no other athlete in any sport ever has, and it’s unclear if another transcendent athlete can emerge and match that legacy, much less surpass it.
While Michael Jordan is worthy of endless chapters discussing NBA history, retired NBA player Robert Horry will always remain a footnote in NBA history. Horry’s NBA career was highlighted in comparison to NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley’s career. Now the question is, would anyone want to be Robert Horry instead of Michael Jordan?
This question seems ridiculous at first glance. Jordan is regarded as the greatest player in NBA history, winning six NBA titles in six tries, while winning six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards. He has earned an untold fortune in part to his numerous endorsement deals and NBA salary, a fortune that enabled him to become majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
Jordan does lead an extraordinary life. But the one thing he’ll never have is anonymity. Jordan, like many other iconic celebrities, is a prisoner of fame. He can’t go out in public without someone seeing him and asking him for an autograph or to take a picture. It may be flattering at first, but it could get tiresome later, especially when you’re on a schedule and don’t have time to spare.
If he refuses, society might consider him a jerk. No one would care if Jordan refused the request because he didn’t have the time or was just having a bad day. Imagine the public relations hit he would take for refusing a fan’s request for an impromptu autograph or picture. Jordan has been in the public consciousness for almost 40 years, and probably could care less. After all, his Nike designed sneakers, affectionately called “J’s”, are still a multibillion dollar conglomerate that only adds to his financial portfolio.
Horry doesn’t have to contend with exponential fame despite winning seven NBA titles to Jordan’s six. He probably leaves a low key life while being able to navigate in relative anonymity. Horry doesn’t have to worry about constant requests of his time to the extent that Jordan has. While Horry doesn’t have the financial portfolio Jordan has, it can be reasoned that he lives a pretty enriched life assuming he’s still financially secure.
Jordan and Horry have contributed greatly to NBA history in different ways. If you place a premium on money and the ability to deal with abundant fame, then you’d want to be like Mike. But if you place a premium on championships, combined with a nevertheless enriched life without needing the ability to deal with abundant fame, then it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to want to “be like Rob”.