Everyone knows that Michael and Scottie were there for all six of the Bulls championships. And almost everybody remembers that Dennis Rodman was there for the last three. After all, each of the three are still highly visible either on television or in news print.
But outside of Chicago there are many people who have now forgotten what an integral part Horace Grant played in those first three championships. And just how much he means to the legacy of the Bulls.
Recently both Jordan and Rodman have been in the news, albeit for two very different reasons. Michael has come out with his favorite all-time dunks while Rodman has mysteriously befriended the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong. As for Pippen, turn on just about any Bulls game and he will be shown somewhere very close to the Chicago bench.
Horace Grant is another story. He has become somewhat anonymous since his playing days. And I get the feeling he likes it that way just fine. He lives in central California with his wife Andrea. They have three daughters and practically an ark of pets. When Horace isn’t somewhere being an ambassador for the NBA, you can find him there, enjoying all that his blessed life has given him.
Horace Junior Grant was born into abject poverty on the 4th of July, 1965 in the town of Augusta Georgia. Yes, that Augusta. He learned from his parents at a very young age how to work hard and make ends meet.
He attended high school in Sparta, Georgia. The family lived in an area called “the ghetto”. At the Grant home the bathroom was an outhouse in the backyard. But it was here where Horace and his twin brother Harvey developed their basketball prowess.
Horace worked tirelessly to hone his skills and was rewarded in 1984 with a full scholarship to Clemson University. He quickly became a star player for the Tigers. In 1987 he became the first winner in school history of the coveted ACC player of the year award. That same year he was named to the ACC’s 50th anniversary team. This while leading the conference in points, field goal percentage, and rebounding.
Later in ’87 he was the 10th player chosen in the NBA draft, by the Bulls of course. After backing up Charles Oakley to begin his career in Chicago, he finally cracked the starting lineup for good in 1989 after Oakley was traded to New York.
He proceeded to be a double digit scorer for the next 10 years, although not all with the Bulls. He became the Bulls third option on offense. He was known more though, for his rebounding and defense. While Scottie and Michael have always garnered the majority of the credit for the Bulls stifling defense of the early ’90’s, one can not forget about Grant. While with the Bulls he was named to the NBA’s all defensive team four times.
It was also in 1989 that Horace found out he was legally blind. That is when he began wearing his trademark wraparound prescription goggles. He later had corrective lasik eye surgery but continued to wear the goggles. He said it was because he wanted to always be a role model for kids who had to wear glasses.
Grant left the Bulls as a free agent in 1994 and furthered his career with the Orlando Magic. After a few years there he went on to win a fourth championship ring. This time with the Los Angeles Lakers in the ’00-’01 season.
His career officially ended with a hip injury in the 2004 season after an astonishing 17 years. And while people in other places will remember him as a member of their respective teams, to us he will always be a Chicago Bull, skying for another defensive rebound. One of the original “big three”.
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