L.A. Lakers legend Robert Horry visits Dernau U.S. basketball star learns more about the flooding in the Ahr valley
Dernau · The seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry visited Dernau, learning more about the situation one year after the flash flooding in the Ahr valley. The former American basketball player signed autographs, and also talked about flooding in his home country.
At some point he gives up the microphone. After all, Robert Horry (51) is almost as vocal as he is tall. The 2.08 meter tall former basketball professional from the USA is one of the greatest in his sport - regardless of height. He has won the championship in the NBA, the best basketball league in the world, seven times.
In the courtyard of the Dagernova event hall in flood-damaged Dernau, the big man entertained several dozen people - not just children - with anecdotes from his time as a professional athlete, which ended some 14 years ago. His visit came about through a German asset management company that is one of the sponsors of the Los Angeles Lakers, for whom Horry played from 1997 to 2003. After the flooding, the asset management company made a donation to support the construction of a provisional daycare center in a container; the Lakers have so far donated a basketball hoop, and a kind of open-air gym is to follow.
Horry talked about how he got his nickname "Big Shot Bob”. He was dubbed this name because he scored many important points in his career. Asked who he thinks is the better basketball player - Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan or current Lakers star LeBron James - Horry, who has played against both, opts for Jordan. Three days later, however, the answer could be different, he concedes. His favorite German basketball player is Detlef Schrempf. Today he is friends with him, but he hated playing against Schrempf. The same goes for Dirk Nowitzki, who was "hard to guard" and cost him his eighth NBA title.
In fact, two fans from Nowitzki's hometown of Würzburg also showed up on Friday: Matthias Bretz, once a helper in the flood area, and his son Leonard, a basketball player in the Bavarian U-14 team. In view of their long journey, Horry brings them forward, shakes their hands and has his picture taken with Leonard. For father Matthias, who took time off work so that his son would not have to travel alone by train, the trip was definitely worth it.
Stefan Vanderfort from Bornheim also took time off work to be there. He is a die-hard basketball fan in the truest sense of the word, he wears the league logo as a tattoo on his arm, and Horry is sure of its authenticity. Horry then signs the ball brought along by the fan from Bornheim, along with an autograph card. Vanderfort is full of praise afterwards. "Super likeable guy. Completely down to earth," says the 37-year-old about his meeting with Horry.
Walk through the village
Before the autograph session, Horry takes a tour of the wine village to see for himself the flood damage in Dernau, which is still clearly visible. 90 percent of the houses there were affected by the disaster, 50 houses had to be demolished, and ten more might still be torn down. Only about half of the former 1,800 inhabitants live in the village again. Meanwhile, he tells of having experienced a flood himself in his native Houston. In comparison, the situation in Dernau is being handled better - even if the goal has not yet been reached.
Local mayor Alfred Sebastian, who wore a yellow Lakers jersey during the visit, is visibly very taken with Horry. Sebastian emphasizes, "It was quite impressive that he was so well-informed, even though he is so far away.”
Orig. text: Sven Westbrook