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Robert Horry and Muggsy Bogues love their NBA work with the Jack Daniel’s Distillery

The longtime friends navigate the professional side of life after basketball

When Robert Horry was picked No. 11 overall in the 1992 NBA draft, Muggsy Bogues was already five years into the league as a Charlotte Hornet. The two faced each other on the court one year shy of a decade before Bogues retired in 2001. Horry left the game in 2008.

Yet, they still see each other often because of the work they do with NBA Cares, the league’s social responsibility program.

The two were recently brought together for an odd pairing: whiskey and basketball. Just after the 2018 NBA draft, Horry and Bogues traveled to Lynchburg, Tennessee, as part of Jack Daniel’s inaugural NBA Legends Camp. They were captains and coached two winners of the Jack Daniel’s NBA Legends online contest. The winners brought four friends for a full squad and ended the three-day event in a game at the distillery’s recreation center.

“I got frat boys,” Horry said jovially. “My team is made up of frat boys from H-Town [Houston], and they are basketball fanatics.”

“I got a family of five,” Bogues said of his winner and her crew. “I got a boyfriend, a husband, and so we got a mixture of a crew. I got two young ladies that’s really excited about it. [They’ve] never played basketball before.”

They also toured the 100-year-old distillery.

“To be able to see how Jack Daniel’s is made, to be able to come to Lynchburg and see how it’s done, is almost a loss of words, sort of, because to see what they do to make a product that’s so fantastic, and so worldwide, and to understand it came from this little bitty place is inspiring, to be honest,” Horry said. “Just to hear the story, and to be a part of it, to walk the same path they walked in, and it’s kind of eerie in a sense, but so historical.”

Bogues and Horry remain relevant in their post-NBA careers.

“It’s funny,” Horry said. “I stay relevant and don’t even try to stay relevant, because everybody wants to debate how you know you are a good player if you don’t win rings, and they always do that debate and they throw me into there. I’m like, why y’all throwing me in this, man?”

Horry played 16 seasons in the NBA, winning seven championships with three teams (Houston Rockets, two; Los Angeles Lakers, three; and San Antonio Spurs, two).

“I’m like, I don’t want to be in this debate,” Horry said. “Yes, I got seven rings; yes, I got one more than Jordan; no, I’m not better than Jordan. No, I’m not better than Carmelo ’cause he has no rings. I’m better than Charles Barkley because I went to Alabama, he went to Auburn. Other than that, that’s why I stay relevant, because every time I look up, someone’s having a debate about are you a great player ’cause of the ring factor.”

Aside from navigating the professional side of life after basketball, both players are family-oriented.

“For me, as long as I stay relevant to my kids, who I need to still keep in line and keep them straight down. That’s more important,” Horry said. “But I’m very happy that the NBA keeps me relevant by being able to come to fantastic events like this Jack Daniel’s event, being a part of the inaugural camp and going around the world spreading the word of the NBA Cares programs and passing on our knowledge of basketball while trying to help different youth. I feel special in a sense that I’m able to be a part of the NBA and especially this event.”

“It’s Space Jam for me,” Bogues said. “For the kids, I became an icon.”

In the huge 1996 film that’s in conversation for a reboot, Bogues was one of five NBA players who lost his on-court talents, stolen by treacherous monsters who used the talents as their powers in an attempt to take down Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes.

Bogues holds the record during and after his 14-year NBA career of becoming the shortest player in the NBA at 5 feet, 3 inches. He added that their relevance also lies in their reputation throughout the league.

“How we continue to conduct ourselves on and off the court now, and how we represent the league as well, [matters],” Bogues said. “When you’re doing good, it just kind of spreads. That’s our mindset, our motto, in terms of just continuing to do good things out here in the community as well as for ourselves.”

Bogues lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he hosts youth camps and is an ambassador for the Charlotte Hornets.

“[I’m] just trying to maintain my health, enjoy life, enjoy my family, my kids, my grandkids and continue doing the things that make me feel good, like waking up in the morning,” Bogues said. “Working with the NBA is one of those, and I’ve got a nonprofit organization. So I’m giving back to the community, which is such a blessing for me.”

Horry is an NBA analyst at Spectrum SportsNet. In 2017, he partnered with Star Vizn to offer his NBA training regimen. Star Vizn is an online training platform where youths, adults, athletes, future entrepreneurs and aspiring entertainers can learn how to become better at their craft. They access the app via a monthly subscription. He joined Roy Jones Jr., Jerry Rice, Dominique Wilkins, Melissa Gorga and Cameron Mathison in the program, which offers individual workouts ranging from as little as five minutes to a grueling 50 minutes.

“Actually, that was one of the hardest things I had to do in a long time,” Horry said. “I told these guys, ‘You do realize that I am like 45 years old’ at the time I was doing the app. And they had me doing all these drills. I am like, ‘Man, I ain’t did these drills since I was in college.’ It was fun. It’s a good app.”

Bogues, 53, is all about maintaining his health while spending time with his wife, celebrity chef Kim Bogues.

“I’m just trying to stay healthy, because at one point we had a rash of guys passing away,” he said. “And I just wanted to maintain my health so I can still provide for my family, still enjoy this thing called life and just keep moving along while trying to pass along my knowledge of basketball to the kids that I’m mentoring.”

Horry said the best advice he can give players is to start preparing for life after basketball now.

“I know a lot of these guys come from great alma maters,” Horry said. “Just go back to your alma mater and get their degrees, talk to the people on the sidelines, even on the teams that they represent. See if you can do an internship and follow them. … Make sure you’re respectful of everybody on the sidelines, because you never know what eyes are upon you, and take advantage of the moment, because the moment won’t last long. Take advantage of all your contacts.”

Bogues wants players to prepare themselves for the next stage of their lives now.

“Don’t wait until that time arrives,” Bogues said. “They need to start planning a little bit beforehand. But the transition is all about making sure that you’ve prepared yourself more so while you’re playing, and take care of your finances. Make sure you’re representing yourself as best as you possibly can. Make sure you have the best representation and you’ve presented yourself good moving forward so that company or that organization knows who you are and what you’re bringing to the table. And also, you have to be true to yourself; you never know who’s watching. And mainly just continue to keep growing. Never get complacent with yourself.”

In 2017, the two shared their time with other NBA players as they participated in an episode of Celebrity Family Feud.

Robert Horry (second from left) and Muggsy Bogues (center) participated in a MLB Legends vs. NBA Legends face-off on Celebrity Family Feud, vying to win cash for charities of their choice.

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Kelley Evans is a general editor at The Undefeated. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.