Legendary National Basketball Association player Robert Horry - a seven-time NBA Champion – has experienced a ‘magnificent seven’ of a different variety during a recent trip to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
The star draw of basketball week at SportFest, a series of weekly indoor sports clinics held at Yas Island’s du Forum during SummerFest Abu Dhabi, the emirate’s season destination extravaganza, Horry mixed business with pleasure and stopped in at several of Abu Dhabi’s major cultural and leisure tourism attractions.
Horry’s whistle-stop trip included guided tours of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the most important architectural treasures of contemporary UAE society, and the opulent Emirates Palace; a culture-rich voyage into the traditional pearl diving industry on the Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey; and a sumptuous iftar (the evening meal where Muslims end daily fasts during the Holy Month of Ramadan) at the five-star Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in the capital’s historic Khor Al Maqta area.
Also on the agenda were a high-octane splash at Yas Waterworld, a mega aqua park on Abu Dhabi’s leisure entertainment district of Yas Island; a ‘dune bashing’ desert safari in a 4x4 before visiting a Bedouin camel farm; and a luxurious spa treatment at ESPA at the five-star Yas Viceroy – the world’s only hotel straddling a Formula 1 track.
After sampling multiple high-energy activities on his Abu Dhabi itinerary, the towering Horry did not hesitate when quizzed about which aspect of the trip would live longest in the memory.
“The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque tour, no doubt.
“The mosque is one of the most amazing pieces of architecture I’ve ever set my eyes on; it’s a remarkable homage to the country’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed.
“I found the whole experience very educational and extremely humbling,” said Horry, who was shown around the mosque by the mosque’s Emirati tour guide, Faisal Al Ebri.
Only six men in the history of professional basketball have won more NBA Championship rings than Horry – and all of them played for the all-conquering Boston Celtics team who won 11 of 13 titles between 1957 and 1969.
Horry’s seven Championship rings were notched up at three different teams (Houston Rockets – 1994 and 1995; Los Angeles Lakers - 2000, 2001 and 2002; and San Antonio Spurs – 2005 and 2007), while numerous memorable Playoff ‘clutch’ shots – dramatic baskets sunk at pivotal moments in the final quarter of make-or-break games – earned him the nickname ‘Big Shot Rob.’