Clutch. Cocky. Loyal. Those three words defined Reggie Miller’s NBA career.
Clutch is for all the incredible game-tying or game-winning 3-point shots he buried throughout his career. Cocky is for the way he carried himself on the court, using anything and everything in the English language (filled with a bunch of expletives) to get an edge against his opponents. And, last but not least, his loyalty toward the only franchise he ever played for in 18 years says a lot about his love for the state of Indiana and its basketball-crazy fans. When you think about the Indiana Pacers, you can’t help but think about Reggie Miller. He is without a doubt the face of the franchise.
On Monday, Miller joined longtime NBA coach Don Nelson, former UCLA and Lakers great Jamaal Wilkes and former Houston Rockets star Ralph Sampson as part of a 12-member class that will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September. Miller’s sister, Cheryl, was enshrined in 1995.
After a standout career at UCLA, Miller became one of the best perimeter shooters in the history of the game. He was part of the 1996 gold medal-winning Olympic team and played more games with one franchise than any player except John Stockton and Karl Malone.
But Miller’s signature moments came against the New York Knicks, for years the biggest rival of his Pacers. Who could forget the choke sign he flashed at Spike Lee when he kept dropping threes in the 1994 Eastern Conference playoff game at Madison Square Garden. And for an encore, he blitzed the Knicks again in the 1995 playoffs with eight points in 11 seconds.
Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird, who coached Miller with the Pacers, said any player can shoot a 3-pointer when the game is tied but it takes a special player to shoot a 3-pointer when his team is down by two points. Few could match Miller’s late-game heroics.
Here’s a video tribute of Miller’s Hall-of-Fame career: