Robert Horry has come to Phil Jackson’s defense after Scottie Pippen accused his former Bulls coach of being racist.
“I’ve played for Phil. I don’t think Phil is racist,” Horry said Wednesday on his “Big Shot Bob Pod” podcast. “He’s said some stuff before that kind of, I had to check him on it. For me, I don’t think he’s racist.”
Horry, a seven-time NBA champion, played four seasons under Jackson from 1999-2003 before he joined the Spurs.
The 50-year-old Horry elaborated on the time he had to “check” Jackson in a huddle one time during a game.
“Phil was like, ‘You need to know the sign of your master’s voice,’ and I looked at him, and I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, we don’t do that. I’m from the South,’” Horry recalled.
Jackson, according to Horry, replied, “I don’t mean it like that. I don’t mean it like that.”
Horry said Jackson explained himself, “but I was like, ‘Dude that’s too close. That’s too close.’
“And I knew what he was trying to come across as saying, because here in the arenas you need to understand the person that’s trying to lead you and I understand. But there’s certain words you can use, and I was like, ‘We’re not close like that yet.’”
Horry later reiterated, “And I don’t think Phil is racist. I really don’t.”
Pippen grabbed headlines Monday when he claimed Jackson was racist during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show.”
The Bulls legend was asked about recent comments he made to GQ, specifically when he told the magazine Jackson made a “racial move” by giving Toni Kukoc the last-second shot in a 1994 playoff game against the Knicks.
When Patrick asked Pippen to confirm if he believes Jackson is a racist, the 55-year-old replied, “Oh yeah.”
Jackson has yet to address Pippen’s comments.
Horry, on the other hand, said he’s giving Pippen a “pass” for his remarks.
“I’m not going to judge the man, because right now, he might not be in a good place mentally,” Horry said, noting the loss of Pippen’s 33-year-old son Antron, who died in April.
Meanwhile, Pippen is on a media tour promoting his new bourbon and memoir, where he’s launched insults at former Bulls teammate Michael Jordan, as well as Nets star Kevin Durant, among others.