Horry attends dedication of Robert Horry Park

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 23, 2015


“Is it him?”


“That ain’t him.”


“That is him – that’s ole Robert Horry!”


While NBA superstar Robert Horry may not have appreciated the “ole” bit, there was no doubt he appreciated the speaker – one of more than 20 kids who showed up Friday afternoon for the dedication of Robert Horry Park. After the ceremonies were over, Horry wandered amongst his fans – young and old alike – swapping jokes and shaking hands.


There is also no doubt Horry appreciated the park itself.


“I remember coming here a couple of years ago and thinking ‘What happened to the park?’” Horry said. “Used to be, everybody would be here playing – cars would line the streets. The cops would get onto us,” he added with a grin. “This is where we came to play. This is where we got together.”


The park on North Cotton Street was where young Robert Horry honed his net skills before going to play for the University of Alabama, and then the NBA, where he helped his teams win five national championships.


Two years ago, Andalusia celebrated its favorite son with “Robert Horry Day” at Andalusia Elementary School, with children arriving literally by the busload to meet and greet their idol.


According to Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson, the numbers were so great, Horry did not get the chance to sign autographs, or even meet, all of his young fans, and he shared in their disappointment. To prevent such an overwhelming turnout – and overwhelming disappointment – the dedication was kept low-key, and was followed by an invitation-only reception at City Hall.


But there was plenty of representation from Horry’s old neighborhood on hand – besides the boys jumping up and down to catch a glimpse of their idol, there were daycare kids, church members, coaches, family and the politicos.


Alfagus Smith, pastor of the Mount Zion Church in Brantley, gave the prayer of dedication, and acknowledged the presence of the young people, for whom the park is intended.


“Keep this park safe,” Smith prayed. “And watch over each and every kid.”


Dwight Mikel, director of the city’s Leisure Services Department, emceed the dedication, thanking everyone who was involved, from the architect who designed the landscape to the Boy Scouts who implemented it.


The mayor also spoke, commending Horry not only for his success as a professional basketball player, but for the nature of his success, of his character, and his status as a role model.


They mayor also thanked volunteer and city employees, saying that if it had not been for them, the park improvement project would have cost twice as much as it did. Johnson said that when Horry came back to his hometown for Robert Horry Day, it made him think of the park, and that it would be appropriate to not only improve the park, but to name it after the most famous basketball player to practice there.


The mayor revealed a replica of one of the plaques that will be permanently attached to the park entrance, which detailed the history of the park and offered biographical information about Horry. The other plaque, Johnson said, would include an impression of Horry’s hand.


“It pretty much takes up the whole plaque!” said Johnson.


Horry also extended a special thanks to the Boy Scouts for their accomplishments.