Saturday, October 2nd, 2010 at 1:00 pm  |  33 responses

Original Old School: The Black Hat

SLAM 139: Throughout his storied career, Reggie Miller was proud to play the role of villain.


RM: Absolutely. You know, you can have great individual matchups. You had Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. That’s great. Arguably, two of the greatest players ever. But what really fueled that was Boston versus L.A.

SLAM: Is it because the NBA markets individuals versus teams?

RM: I would say partly. But also teams need to face each other a couple of times in the Playoffs. That builds up rivalries and that contentious feeling, and then fans can jump on the bandwagon.

SLAM: You’re third all-time in NBA games played for the same franchise. That loyalty is rare these days. Do you think it’s also because players move around so much?

RM: Absolutely. And that’s another reason why I hope LeBron James re-signs with Cleveland. Sorry! [Laughs.]

SLAM: That hurts, man. You think he’s staying?

RM: Yeah, of course I do. Do you?

SLAM: Yeah, I guess. I think the Knicks end up with Amar’e Stoudamire and Joe Johnson.

RM: I think Joe Johnson may go to New York. Back to LeBron: I definitely said he was staying when you could only get one maximum contract. But now that you can get two, there’s a slight possibility. But very slight. But if you could be the biggest fish in the smallest pond, and everyone loves you, why leave for the headache?

SLAM: Maybe because it’s your hometown and you’ve always lived there and always played there. And you feel suffocated. That’s what I would tell him. “Hey, LeBron, you need to get away from your home.” And maybe if you yourself were from Indiana, you would’ve felt differently.

RM: Right. Because I was coming from a major city and a big market in L.A….

SLAM: Did you enjoy living in Indiana?

RM: Oh, I loved it. You know, no traffic, people actually say hello to you. I kind of relished that.

SLAM: You were UCLA’s second all-time leading scorer behind Kareem. How difficult was it for you to come off the bench during your rookie season?

RM: It was the best thing for me personally because I got to learn under John Long. He was my tutor. And after every single game, he would take me and we would watch film, break down the opposing shooting guards. I came off the bench and it was a great learning experience. I wasn’t thrust or thrown into it.

SLAM: You were so good at drawing fouls. Do you feel that that’s become a lost art?

RM: It’s the whole ESPN-highlight age now, where people want to jump over each other. But they forget that you can get two points at the free-throw line by drawing contact. You know, the art of a good flop as opposed to a bad flop.

SLAM: And you were the master of the good flop.

RM: [Laughs.] Hey, I had to be. At my size, I had to be. I had to act like I was getting killed out there. Most officials are gonna look if you are 180, 185. I mean, you’re going to the hole and Patrick Ewing is 260-270, you gotta act like you were just killed.

SLAM: Who was your favorite all-time teammate?

RM: I would have to say…Mark Jackson, of course. Dale Davis, Vern Fleming, LaSalle Thompson.

SLAM: How about a coach?

RM: Well there are two: A guy who made me a better player and taught me how to play the right way: Larry Brown. Philosophy-wise and how to respect the game, it was Coach Jack Ramsay.

SLAM: You won a gold medal in the ’96 Olympics. Where does that rank on your list of accomplishments?

RM: It’s up there, obviously. It was really one of the only things that I actually ever accomplished, you know, winning-wise, so I have to put it up there. But also, winning the Eastern Conference Finals against your New York Knicks…

SLAM: Can you please stop saying that?

RM: [Laughs.] Well that may be number one, because they were always the roadblocks.

SLAM: How have Knicks fans treated you since you retired?

RM: Pretty good. But I would say that it’s because the Knicks and the Pacers both suck. And I think the fans want those days back. So they are a little more respectful because they are yearning for those days. For when the Garden was electric. It’s an incredible environment for basketball.

SLAM: So can’t you talk to LeBron James and tell him that for me?

RM: Oh, man. [Laughs.]

SLAM: If anyone could do it, it’d be you.

RM: Wait, getting back to earlier, you said Joe Johnson and who? Bosh or Amar’e?

SLAM: Probably Amar’e. That’s how the Knicks luck goes.

RM: Which is not bad.

SLAM: I know. But he’ll get injured. And then I hear Rudy Gay talking about how much he loves New York…

RM: Y’all are sleeping on him. He’s a great player.

SLAM: Right, Reggie, but we didn’t clear this cap space for Rudy Gay or Joe Johnson.

RM: Or, you easily wait a year for Carmelo.

SLAM: Sure, but if we flush another year down the toilet, who the hell is going to want to come to New York?

RM: Hey, New York will always have players who want to play there. Always.

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  • Shu

    Absolutely loved him during his playing career, not so much his broadcasting career. I wish more players of today would show personality and general distaste towards the opposing team/crowd like reggie did. Maybe its the grind it out 77-72 games and being put on the ground 3-4x per day that brought it out of everyone back then but something seems to be missing these days…

  • JTaylor21

    Ray Allen WHO? Reggie would eat Allen for brunch.

  • MikeC.

    I can now respect his game, but still f^ck a Reggie Miller! 25 point quarter was impressive and all, but NY still won the series. Suck it Miller!

  • Vince5

    @MikeC. : The Pacers won the series one year later. But again, the Knicks beat them in 1999.

  • The Philosopher

    Again, the third best shooting guard in NBA History.

  • hammer

    Miller time! An all-time gr8 headed 2 the hall. An all-time gr8 clutch shooter as well. Jesus had/has the most beutiful jump shot n the game,but reggie was cold-blooded. Heartless. Matter of fact he RESIDED n the land of the heartless like bone thugs n harmony. Didn’t take no s**t! Not even from mj. Talk trash 2 u AND would back it up. Tenacious and determined as hell the way he fought and scrambled 2 get his shot off. And yes,he shoulda been called 4 pushing mj n 98

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    Reggie will always be a favourite. The nice thing about the passage of time is that people will forget the hurt he put them through, and just remember the sheer entertainment he brought to the game.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    TG! I love it.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    GREAT stuff! Props. Reggie Miller is one of my favorite players ever and my favorite franchise ever is the Knicks..

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    Reggie Miller was a beast, no doubt, but as an overall player Ray Allen has him beat. Not taking away from the fantastic player Miller was, just that Ray’s better overall.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ Ray is also one of my favorite players ever, but no. Sorry H. But, what makes you say that?

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Ray Allen cannot even wash Reggie Miller’s feet or stand beside him in any circle. I don’t even feel Ray Allen should be in the HOF, if you look at his entire career, but he mean get pity-who knows. Do yall cats remember Ray Allen from the Bucks, Sonics days, were he would disappear and not even be the number one player sometimes in crunch time. Do yall cats, forget he was not even one of the main reasons the Celtics won the title in 08 (see Rondo), do yall cats know that Ray Allen costed the Celtics the series against the Lakers this year. Just because Ray Allen has a pretty jumpshot, doesn’t mean that he is in Reggie class. Ray Allen would never be able to carry a team, like Reggie did for most of his career. Whoever feels Ray can be mentioned with Reggie has FAIL. BOOK IT!!!!

  • Do Work

    How can people be split on Reggie being in the H.O.F.? Joe Dumars is in the Hall, no question Reggie should be based on that fact alone.

  • Blackphantom

    Possibly the greatest shooter of all-time, and @JTaylor, i agree he would destroy Ray Allen

  • http://www.dimemag.com Royal

    Reggie seems like a pretty cool dude

  • http://sdfklflc.com Jukai

    I love the article, Gervino is one of my all-time favorites…
    but GOD is Miller overrated

  • http://sdfklflc.com Jukai

    I mean, really really really really great article. Damn.

  • http://sdfklflc.com Jukai

    I’m pretty busy so I dunno if I’ll be able to respond constantly, but I’ll say this: Ray Allen would burn Reggie.

  • http://sdfklflc.com Jukai

    I mean, people see this KILLER INSTINCT and think it brings players leagues above other players. Sure, Reggie was clutch as hell and loved to take the last shot, but he couldn’t pass, couldn’t rebound, wasn’t great defending unless he pretended to get run over. People rate him too highly because he had so many spectacular moments, but that’s what they were, moments.

  • http://sdfklflc.com Jukai

    Reggie Miller’s best year: 24.6ppg, 3.6rpg, 3.8apg, 1.3spg on 51/41/86
    Michael Redd’s best year: 25.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.9apg, 1.2spg on 46/39/87
    and hey, basketball is a sport of intangibles, which is why Reggie is WAY better than Redd. But, you know, just pointing that out.

  • letsmotor

    cosign Jukai. I can’t believe The Seed thinks that Ray wasn’t one of the main reasons the Celtics won it all in 08. Sure, he struggled in the earlier rounds of the playoffs, but he KILLED IT in the finals that year. he hit 22 threes at a 52.8% clip, and he averaged 20.3 points. if he won finals MVP, few would’ve argued. but you’re right, he wasn’t THAT much of a factor, was he?

  • The Philosopher

    If Reggie wins a ring, many a discussion is cut short.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    The Celtics played hard in 08, yea Ray hit three point attempts, but Eddie House hit more big threes, KG zone defense, Powe played big down low and Rondo was the key. Rondo controlled the tempo and set everyone up. Ray has never led a team, like Reggie has done over his career. A couple of good years, do not make up for his past experience’s in a Bucks and Seattle uniform. Lets talk about entire career, not just the good parts. BOOK IT!!

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    true, Reggie may have the edge when it comes to leadership, but that would matter a lot more if he led his team to a title. of course, Ray never led his team to a title either, but he was a major contributor to a team that won a championship, something Miller can’t lay claim to. i dunno, it’s tough to argue about this, because if Miller decided to leave Indiana towards the end, he could’ve easily put a team over the hump the same way Ray did, but that’s still just a “could’ve.” But I think even if you take away Ray’s ring and just look at the skill set of each player, Ray wins. I wouldn’t say it’s a clear cut victory for him though, so I could see someone arguing the other way.

  • http://dsfjklf.com Jukai

    Ray Allen lead his own team to the conference finals. Sure, Reggie Miller took his team to the Finals, but Reggie’s team was way more stacked than Allens team, which literally had friggin nobody (I’ll take Mark Jackson over Sam Cassel anyday, thanks).
    If Reggie Miller was on the celts over Ray Allen, I’m not sure they woulda won in 2008.

  • http://www.youtube.com/nypacers Reggie

    “And in ’00, in Game 5 of the first round of the Playoffs, he drained a 40-footer at the buzzer to send the conference-leading Nets to overtime, and nearly, to the brink.”

    I believe that was in 2002 Playoffs…

    I miss the good old days.

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    good point about the 2001 conference finals, Jukai. what makes you say Miller wouldn’t have necessarily been as helpful to the 08 celtics as Ray? I’m not disagreeing, just curious about your reasoning. the one thing that stands out to me is defense–Ray’s become a very good defender as a Celtic, Reggie was always a pretty average defender at best.

  • EC

    Ray didnt lead ish to the conference finals that was Glen Robs team and cassel had the ball in crunch time Ray played 2nd fiddle. Reggie>ray all day lets stop the non sense

  • http://sdjfklf.com Jukai

    EC: Right, and the Bulls threepeat was all Pippen’s team. Please, just leave.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I’m surprised Miller didn’t mention Rik Smits as one of his favorite teammates…

  • http://sdfjklfl.com Jukai

    letsmotor: I wrote an answer but it never appeared.
    The jist was, I don’t think Reggie could stop being the man both mentally and via his skillset (which was shooting– and shooting a lot). Could he defer himself to Garnett, a superior player, or Pierce, the leader of that team?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Mark Jackson is not a given over Sam Cassell and those Bucks teams had Tim Thomas and Glenn Robinson as well.
    Now, those Seattle teams were light on talent, but with the Bucks Allen had decent talent for that era.
    More talent on the offensive end than Iverson had in Philly.

  • EC

    no Jukai Glen rob was more of a factor than ray.. im not leaving reggie> ray