Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance has brought back to life one of the many forgotten players from the 90s. A guy that was a hustler in both ends of the glass and that proved to be an invaluable asset for Championship teams: Horace Grant.
The documentary may have done Grant a bit dirty here. He was pictured as an underachiever that Jordan constantly had to push around to bring the best out of him. In reality, Grant brought his A-Game night in and night out against some of the toughest, most physical big men in the NBA at the time.
But more than just being a great overall player, Grant also found the way to constantly be surrounded by greatness. As a matter of fact, he was a part of three of the most entertaining teams the league has ever seen and is the only guy to ever play with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, and Kobe Bryant. Let’s break it down:
Michael Jordan And Scottie Pippen
Horace Grant started his career with the Chicago Bulls, who drafted him 10th overall in 1987. He stood with the organization until 1994, meaning he entered the league with Scottie Pippen and joined a success-hungry young Michael Jordan.
Grant kept on improving his game on a yearly basis up to the point where he was even an All-Star during his final season with the Bulls. Over his 7-year tenure, he posted averages of 12.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks on 53% shooting.
His hard work on the glass helped the Chicago Bulls win three straight NBA Championships from 1991 to 1993, but he decided to leave the franchise as a free agent after being reportedly angry at the way Jordan and the Bulls dealt with him.
Shaquille O’Neal And Penny Hardaway
It wouldn’t take Grant long before he got his revenge against his former team. He joined a rising Orlando Magic team with a young stud that was completely dominating the league like Shaquille O’Neal and rounded up their Big 3 with Penny Hardaway running the offense.
Moreover, Grant made the most of Jordan’s first retirement come playoff time, as the Bulls were lacking their alpha dog and didn’t have a strong presence in the paint either, so the Magic knocked them out of the playoffs during his first season there.
Sadly for him, Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets completely dominated them in the NBA Finals. Grant stayed with the Magic until 2000 without many chances to compete for a ring before being traded for the Seattle Supersonics.
Shaquille O’Neal And Kobe Bryant
Horace Grant got back together with Phil Jackson and Shaquille O’Neal in the 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers. This time, however, the triangle offense didn’t include Michael Jordan but a rising shooting guard that replicated most of his game and mentality: Kobe Bryant.
Grant started 77 games for the Lakers that season and while his offensive contributions were minor (8.5 points per game), his presence down low opened up a lot of space for Shaquille O’Neal to operate, and the Lakers made it to the Finals vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.
Horace won his fourth and final NBA Championship, this time dressed in purple and gold. He later came back for another 2 years with the Magic before returning to Los Angeles to retire with the Lakers in 2004. We may not talk about him enough nowadays, but The General was a born winner.