SAN ANTONIO – Former San Antonio Spurs forward Robert Horry, who played on two of the franchise’s championship teams, headlines the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017, which was announced at a news conference Monday at the Dominion Country Club.
Horry and four other former greats will be enshrined at the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Tribute on Feb. 4 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
"It's a great honor for me . . . I know a lot of people wish they could have this opportunity," Horry, who lives in Houston, said by speaker phone. "I'm just blessed to have this opportunity. I'm really blessed to have the good fortune to play for the San Antonio Spurs and the good people of San Antonio. The people in San Antonio are really great. I've always said they're some of the best fans in the world. The Spurs are a great organization, but they're only a great organization because of the great fans that they have."
Nicknamed “Big Shot Bob” because of his clutch shooting in key games, Horry is one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA playoff history. He went 38 of 85 from beyond the arc in the 2005 postseason, including a game-winner in the final seconds in Game 5 of the Finals against the Detroit Pistons. The Spurs went on to win the series in seven games.
Horry also won a title with the Silver and Black in 2007, earning his seventh championship ring during his 16-year NBA career. Horry is one of only two players – the other is John Salley – who have won NBA championships with three different teams. He earned two rings with the Houston Rockets and three with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Horry, 46, played five seasons (2003-08) with the Spurs.
Also selected for induction into the San Antonio Hall of Fame were:
- Susan Blackwood, former executive director of the San Antonio Sports Foundation and San Antonio Sports.
- Swimmer Annie Chandler Grevers, who excelled at Churchill High School and the University of Arizona before competing internationally.
- Longtime educator and high school coach Sylvester Perez, who led three different San Antonio schools to baseball district championships.
- Leo Rose, who was part of the original group of investors that helped bring the Spurs to San Antonio.
The San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Tribute was established in 1995. Proceeds from the Tribute benefit San Antonio Sports’ kids programs. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.sanantoniosports.org/halloffame.
Blackwood became executive director in 1996 of the San Antonio Sports Foundation, which later was renamed San Antonio Sports. She headed the organization for 17 years, and played a key role in helping bring a number of high-profile sports events to San Antonio, including five Final Fours. But her enduring legacy will be her advocacy for youth sports in the community.
Blackwood expanded San Antonio Sports' outreach to youth programs, and she initiated the SPARK (school park) program for local and elementary and middle schools. San Antonio Sports' annual budget grew from $125,000 to $3.4 million during Blackwood's tenure.
"To be inducted in this Hall with incredible coaches, athletes, administrators and contributors for all these years is an honor," Blackwood said. "When I was executive director, to meet these people personally and know about their accomplishments was awesome. And now to be in the Hall with them, it's just unbelievable.
"I think the Hall has been a great thing for San Antonio. There are a lot of sports commissions around the United States that have Halls like this, but San Antonio and the community and the corporate support that we've gotten has really taken this whole event to another level. I'm so proud of the staff and what they've done, what they've accomplished. Our volunteers in San Antonio and the events that we've had. This is really the ultimate for me, to be able to celebrate all of that."
Perez, 67, graduated from Harlandale High School in 1967, and played baseball at Wharton Junior College and New Mexico Highlands before starting his coaching career in Taos, N.M. He later was baseball coach at Harlandale, Holmes, MacArthur, Madison and Judson, and led the latter three schools to district championships. Perez was also an assistant football coach at Judson under Frank Arnold in 1983, when the Rockets won their first state championship.
Perez went into school administration in 1985. He retired as superintendent of the San Antonio ISD last year, but returned to work in May when he was appointed interim superintendent of the Edgewood ISD by the Texas Education Agency.
"For a kid who pretty much grew up downtown until he was 11 and then moved to Harlandale on the southside, this is quite an honor," Perez said. "I'm a product of the CYO, the Catholic Youth Organization, Little League Baseball and, of course, UIL athletics at Harlandale. All of that is what really helped mold me."
Perez coached future Major League Baseball players John Gibbons and Norm Charlton at MacArthur and Madison, respectively. Gibbons is now manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.
"We had some good ballplayers," Perez said. "When we won (district) at MacArthur, John Gibbons, was a junior. He hit below .200, let's put it that way. He hit a couple of home runs and we won it that year. The next year, he hit 10 home runs, I believe, in 19 games and batted .500, (and) we didn't win it.
"A lot of it, it goes back to the old saying, sometimes it's not the best players that always win, but the best team that always wins. I was very, very fortunate to be around some very good kids."
Grevers, 29, was a three-time state swimming champion at Churchill in the 100-meter breaststroke. She also was a member of two state-championship relay teams and still holds the state record in the breaststroke. Grevers swam on Arizona's 2008 championship team, and broke the NCAA record as the 2010 national champion in the 100-meter breaststroke.
A member of the USA national swim team from 2010 to 2012, Grevers competed in three Olympic Trials and won a gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games.
"Honestly, I was pretty floored to be included in the Class of 2017," Grevers said by phone from her home in Phoenix. "I'm just so humbled to be in such high company. There's no better state and no better city to begin an athletic career that San Antonio provided me with opportunities I took for granted as a teenager. But now I look back and think, 'Wow, where else could that have happened?'"
Grevers said she looked up to former Churchill swimmer Josh Davis, who went on to swim in the Olympics, and Churchill coach Al Marks as she was growing up. Davis and Marks are both in the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.
"My high school swimming career at Churchill was simply magical," Grevers said. "I steadily improved under Coach Marks' guidance. I saw the results of my hard work pay off in the pool and shape me into who I became outside of the pool. I learned so many life lessons from the sport and people in it."
Rose, 95, joked about his selection when he was introduced at Monday's news conference.
"I didn't know if it was going to happen before I died," he said. "At 95, I don't have too many years to go. It's very exciting for me and for my family. I look forward to a wonderful year. I spent a lot of years with the Sports Foundation. It's always been fruitful and I've always enjoyed it. I'll continue as long as I have breath."
Besides serving as co-chairman of the board for the Spurs, Rose owned the San Antonio Racquets, who played in the World Team Tennis co-ed league. Rose was also an early supporter and board member of the Sports Foundation, which was established in 1984.
(© 2016 KENS)