From real life Forrest Gump to the NBA’s leading scorer of 3-point field goals, Reggie Miller led the Pacers franchise to perennial playoff appearances and legendary highlights that rank him among the top clutch performers in NBA history.Reggie Miller was born with a disability. Hip deformities required Reggie to wear leg braces in an otherwise athletic family, most notably his sister Cheryl Miller, WNBA superstar. It has been noted that Reggie’s unorthodox shot drew from Cheryl’s ability to block his attempts.
Miller chose the storied UCLA basketball program to continue his expertise, but never won an NCAA Championship; in his senior season the three point line was installed into the game, allowing Reggie to explore what was to be the trademark facet of his game.
It took a few years from when Miller was drafted until Reggie Miller became Reggie Miller.
His first mark of success came during the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals where the Pacers took a 3-2 series lead on Miller’s 25 point fourth quarter. Miller also exchanged dialogue with Garden “resident” Spike Lee on his way to a 39 point game.
But it was not until the next year until Miller became known as the “Knick Killer”
In Game One of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Miller, in one of the most memorable highlights of the past 25 years, scored 8 points in 8.9 seconds. Miller’s team was down by six with 16.4 seconds on the clock when Miller drained a three, and swishes another three off a stolen inbounds pass, thus silencing the Knicks fans and ensuring a victory for the Pacers after making both of his free throws following his rebound off a Knicks miss on the next possession.
Then of course there is the famous game winner over the great Michael Jordan to force Game Seven of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals.
And the 39 foot desperation shot to force overtime against the New Jersey Nets in Game Five, the final game of the series (the playoff format has changed since) of the first round series between the two teams, only followed by Miller’s dunk over three Net defenders to force double overtime. Despite Reggie’s heroics the Pacers lost the game, and the series, while the Nets went on to the Eastern Conference Championship.
Miller’s retirement in 2005 marked the only bright spot of a season tarnished by the “Malice in the Palace” where Miller’s teammates Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, and Ron Artest. Regardless, Miller proved that he could still put up points without his superstar teammates, scoring 39 on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Reggie Miller never won an NBA Championship, losing 4-2 in his only NBA Finals appearance in 2000 to Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s Lakers.
These days, Miller lends his expertise as an NBA analyst on TNT. Where he dubbed the now famous term “Paints in the Point” while covering the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.
Although Miller never won a ring, his clutch time performances are just as great, if not better, than any other player in league history.
With his somewhat slurred speech Reggie Miller is to the NBA what Sylvester the Cat is to Looney Tunes. Always searching for the ultimate prize, but never quite achieving it, muttering bits of nonsense to the delight of many along the way.