You need to be member to use the link. Sad story, he must think the Rockets are pretty bad to not want to come back last year. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/may/23/sports/sp-horry23 NBA PLAYOFFS No Place Like Home Robert Horry's heart is with his family in Houston, where his stricken young daughter brings aches and joy. By TIM BROWN, Times Staff Writer HOUSTON -- The parking lot at the Pediatric Therapy Center in southwest Houston is full, drive-around-the-lot-looking-for-a-space full, like the mall at Christmas time. The PTC does a brisk business in all seasons. The children, even the older ones, hold tight to their mothers' hands without embarrassment. When they leave the shade of the lot, many involuntarily lift their faces to the sun, which is warming in the late morning, headed to nearly 90, with a light breeze. For all of the pictures of animals on the walls and the cartoons on the televisions, for all the smiles and encouragement from the therapists and doctors, this place is hard work for the children who walk in, or are carried in. Ashlyn Horry used to sit in the back seat of her mother's car and refuse to get out. Then she would start to cry, and so would her mother, and there they'd be, Keva Horry pleading, Ashlyn Horry refusing, while other mothers in other minivans stopped behind them and wondered if they were coming or going. Those were the moments when Keva Horry wondered too. "This is life," she said without regret. "I'm dealing with it." ___ Ashlyn is 8. Her father, Robert, plays power forward for the Lakers. On Monday night, Robert had 20 rebounds in Sacramento, where the Lakers lost Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. On Tuesday afternoon, Ashlyn is standing frightfully near the top of a four-rung ladder. A physical therapist holds her around the waist, and while the ladder teeters, she hands her a stuffed ball. With help, Ashlyn pushes the ball with two hands over the front of a plastic yellow hoop, and the ball falls through, lands on a blue mat and rolls across the floor. "She scores!" the therapist cries. "Yeah!" Across the room, Keva Horry claps. Ashlyn throws back her head and smiles. Her eyes joyously turn to slits and her arms and legs go stiff. When she opens her eyes, Ashlyn finds her mother. Keva picks up the blue ball and rolls it back, her first rebound of the afternoon. "There's a pride now because I'm seeing things the doctors didn't expect her to do," Keva says. "That gives me hope." As the Horrys understand it, Ashlyn, their first child, was born without part of her first chromosome. They've never asked for the name of what she has, because it has never seemed important. She cannot yet speak or walk or eat, and there is no guarantee she ever will. "One doctor told me it's a freak of nature," Keva said. Ashlyn spent her first six months in the hospital, and she has been back often. She can cover ground with the help of a four-wheeled walker, but it's a dicey transport without brakes. She leans forward and the walker rolls and suddenly she's nearly at a full run down the sidewalk, sending her parents after her with a mix of amusement and terror. Ashlyn eats mostly through a tube in her stomach. An IV stand sits in a corner of her lavender-colored bedroom on the first floor of the family's home, beside her bed. For three years she had a tracheotomy, allowing her to breath. Complications arose, as they often did then, and Ashlyn had her epiglottis—the flap that covers the windpipe during swallowing—removed, making eating a challenge. Half of Tuesday's two-hour therapy session at PTC was spent in a tiny back room, where a kind woman named Judy Boshart dabbed baby food from a Dixie cup to Ashlyn's lips. When Ashlyn swallowed or simply tried, she would get as reward a song or two from a nearby tape recorder, and Miss Judy would call her "Sugar Bear" or "Boo" and blow soapy bubbles and ask Ashlyn to pop them. So, Ashlyn sat in a wooden chair, vanilla pudding on her lips, jerking her head away from a plastic spoon, listening to Barney sing, "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" Boshart pulled her face close to Ashlyn's, and rested her own cheek on the top of the little girl's head as Keva looked on."Ashlyn's a people person," she says. "She loves people. They don't always understand. But she doesn't care." Boshart understands, and Ashlyn seems to know that. Boshart called Ashlyn's ailment "a neurological syndrome that mimics cerebral palsy" in some regards. The prognosis, she said, "Guarded. Somewhat guarded. It's been so touch and go with this baby. She was so sick." ___ The little girl might never become what others are. That's OK. Others become what she is, joyfully. Keva Horry sat in her television room Tuesday afternoon as workers, with ladders and extension cords over their shoulders, continue to plod through the two-story Mediterranean-style home in Houston's posh West Chase neighborhood. There are peacocks in the yard. "Not ours," Keva says. "They belong to the community." Apparently, they like the Horry's place best. Robert and Keva had it built, and have been in it for about a year. The home is stunning, even set against the other grand and gated homes on the same leafy street. On the television, turned to the channel that brings up nine security cameras in the house, Camron, 3, plays with a babysitter in segment four. Palm trees wave in the front yard in segment five. Ashlyn, exhausted from her therapy, sleeps in segment one. She often falls asleep on the way home. The room is quiet and bright. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame a large backyard, which has a pool, a wooden jungle gym, a basketball court and a pool house. When Ashlyn and Camron play in the yard, Keva sometimes will stand in this room, behind those windows, and marvel at what her little girl has become, the ability she has to change people. "She just kind of brings everybody to her level," Keva says. "Like, 'Hello, this is what it's really all about—happiness.'" Keva is pretty in a Jasmine Guy, Southern-girl way. She's like Robert in that she is easy to smile in the light moments and quick to shrug in the difficult ones. She cries some, such as when Robert leaves Houston for Los Angeles for his NBA season. She met Robert when both were attending Alabama. She grew up in Tuscaloosa, Robert in nearby Andalusia, and they share the same subtle drawls. Keva had never seen someone so tall and thin, nor met someone as easygoing. She dated the high-profile athlete—despite her better judgment, she said—and five years ago they wed, three years after Ashlyn was born, two years before Camron, a normal child in every way, was born. At that moment, Camron walked into the room, held up a new pair of Nike sneakers and said, "Like Ko-mee Biant!", Kobe Bryant being his second-favorite Laker. He is his father in miniature, complete with the big eyes and high, hollow cheeks. He attends a preschool that feels like Disneyland's Main Street. Robert isn't around much during basketball season. The Lakers get to Houston twice a year and the family comes to Los Angeles occasionally, to a home in Marina del Rey. Moving the family to Los Angeles isn't an option. It's too vast, Keva says. The Horrys made their home here when Robert was with the Rockets. And moving would mean leaving the therapy center where Ashlyn has been going since she was 2. There are pictures of him all over the house, and he calls several times a day, Tuesday telling Keva on her cell phone as she drove home from physical therapy, "I wish I was there with you." She said, "I wish you were here too." "This is Robert's favorite room," Keva said, swinging open the door just off the TV room. "I'm not allowed in here, so don't tell him I showed you." She laughed and dragged a hand across a black velvet-lined pool table. There are half a dozen video games against one wall, a wet bar in the corner, and a movie theater through a side door. Framed NBA jerseys are leaning against a wall, waiting to be mounted. She thinks about him often. "It's like when you're first starting to date somebody all over again," she said. "I still get the butterflies. I do. I get nervous, like, 'Do I look OK?' Really. I still cry when he gets on a plane, when I drop him off for the season at the airport, I'm boo-hooing all the way home. It's been going on for so long now. If it stops, I'll start to worry. "It gets very lonely. My children are my life. And I miss my husband. I love him dearly and I am extremely proud of him. I want him to be happy." ___ The truth is, there are times when Robert Horry feels badly for Ashlyn. He admires her courage and loves her determination, but those things won't allow her to chase her little brother, or catch fireflies in a jar. When her tiny cousins race each other into the backyard for one of the swings, Ashlyn sometimes sits nearby, staring. "There are bad days, like on the Fourth of July, when we have my brother's kids and her sister's kids," Robert said after practice Wednesday in El Segundo. "They're like kids, running around. You can tell she wants to do what they're doing, but can't. Those are the days I feel bad for her." It doesn't last too long, because the doorbell always rings again. "Everybody who knows her, they love Ashlyn like she's their child," he said. "When people come over, they're like, 'Where's my baby? Where's Ashlyn?' They get on the floor with her and hug and kiss on her as much as she can stand." Keva is not sure about the bad days."She's happy all the time," she said. "She doesn't know any different. That's great, and it's a peace for me. This is all she knows. She's happy, and I want to keep it that way." ___ The sun has passed over the top of the house, and shadows have fallen on the living room couch, where Keva reads a children's book to Ashlyn and Camron. Though he has been forbidden to eat a cookie so near suppertime, Camron returns from the kitchen with crumbs stuck to his mouth, which Keva instantly notices. Ashlyn is blissful beside her mother, listening to her voice and staring sweetly at the pages. She tries to hug her brother, who pushes her away. Unbowed, Ashlyn pulls him closer. He groans and Keva laughs and kisses Ashlyn. It is life. And they are dealing with it. "I don't know what the reason is just yet," Keva said. "I do on a daily basis try to figure it out. It's not a 'Why me?' thing anymore. It used to be. It was very hurtful for the first year. I know her little life has a purpose. She has a destiny like everybody else. Maybe she's here for me. Maybe it's for Robert. Maybe that's it. "The thing is, I never felt like the weight of the world was on me. You just do it. Before I knew it, we were here." It's not a bad place. Ashlyn brings them little hardships and she brings them huge joy. Maybe she doesn't know it, but they're sure she does. They choose to believe she does. "She kind of does that on a daily basis," Keva said. "Milestones. The little accomplishments that, for her, are huge. It happens every day."