Prior to Steph Curry revolutionizing the game of basketball with his incomparable three-point shooting, Indiana Pacers Hall of Fame guard Reggie Miller, who turns 53-year-old today, was considered the greatest long-range bomber in NBA history. In fact, Curry may have the records, but Miller is still considered on another level as a clutch shooter. And a junk popper.
I interviewed Miller in 2015 and asked him about the comparisons between him and Curry.
Gambler: Are the lethal shooters in todays NBA game on your level yet? Do the defensive limitations imposed on todays NBA defenders give the newbie bombers an advantage?
Miller: Steph Curry is one of the best shooters arguably ever as we speak today. Just because of what hes shown over his first six or seven years. Hes shown a consistency and I think the next step for him will come playoff time, on the biggest stage, when its money time. He will get the chance to show that lethal shot in a very meaningful game.
Overall, I think him and Kyle Korver and Damian Lillardall these guys are fantastic guys that can stretch the floor and knock down big shots. Every era of basketball is different. In my era of the 80s and 90s the rules were different. In the 60s and 70s the rules were different. All of these guys are carving their own niche. Rules are always evolving. You gotta roll and adapt to the new rule changes just like everybody else did before you.
Tribute to one of the greatest shooters of all time
In his prime, Miller was a one-man franchise obliterator and he had his most memorable and impactful moments and hit his most mythical shots on the worlds biggest basketball stage. Miller scored 25, 279 points over his 18-year career and is second to Ray Allen in career 3s made, but the seasons of 1994 and 1995 lifted Miller to superstar status.
His courtside battles with movie director Spike Lee in Madison Square Garden became the stuff of legends, often imitated but never duplicated by various stars over the years.
Trailer made for a class while in school using only clips in the 30 for 30. ESPN Films 30 for 30: Complete Season 1: http://amzn.to/2yTZTvi Final Cut Pro Keyboard Cover: http://amzn.to/2Ba2DdX
Miller not only took over New York in the 90s, but he owned the city and left the city slickers and celebrities speechless. To this day New York fans are haunted by his name. It’s like they say,” Miller said after a game over two decades ago, “if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.”
The skinny, trash-talking shooting savant named The Knicks Killer stuck many a playoff dagger into the hearts of NY fans. Miller played the perfect villain and shook MSG to its foundation with his killer rendition of the cautionary sports phrase, It ain’t over till its over.
Happy birthday to Reggie Miller, the Pacers all-time scorer and one of the greatest shooters, trash-talkers and clutch Knicks killers in NBA history. Reggie’s best plays & trash-talking moments: https://t.co/e1o0Vq8mnR
In 1994, the rivalry between the Pacers and Pat Riley’s Knicks was at epic levels and in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals in Madison Square Garden, the Pacers trailed by 12 going into the fourth quarter as the Knicks looked to be in control of the game.
Spike Lee was talking mega trash and Miller responded to Lees taunts by scoring an amazing 25 points in the fourth quarter, catapulting the Pacers to a 93-86 victory.
Reggie Miller scores 25 points in the 4th quarter and taunts Spike Lee after every basket
The New York Daily News ran a headline saying, Thanks A Lot Spike.
Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals was also all but over. With people jubilantly filing out of Madison Square Garden s and Spike Lee courtside waving his towel, Miller who was cold as a frozen turkey in missing 11 of 16 shots to that point went H.A.M.
The shooting legend hit two 3-pointers and two free throws, scoring eight points and had a steal and a rebound in 8.9 seconds to help Indiana steal the game, 107-105. Once Miller looked at Spike and flashed the choke sign, one of the most demoralizing nights in Knicks history was over.
Final project for my Z-120 class at Indiana University. Documentary type film about Reggie Miller and the golden days of the Pacers. *No copyright infringement intended, it is for strictly educational use.*
There are many different opinions about Millers place among the all-time greats. He never won an NBA title and some labeled him one dimensional, unable to get his shot off the dribble consistently. Millers proponents say he would kill dudes in this current league where three-point hoists are encouraged and hand checking and other defensive advantages are no more.
I once asked Reggies equally prolific hoop legend sister Cheryl about this during a 2014 interview.
Gambler: Despite his dominance as a shooter and his ability to shoot rainbow jumpers over a defending skycraper, do you think that your brother Reggie with his wiry frame, lack of speed and serviceable but not dynamic ball handling ability, would still be a Top 10 player in today’s game?
C. Miller: Without question! Without question! Youve got to understand something. Even if you used that equation. OK? You look at when Reggie played and that was in essence, kind of before the Jordan rules when you could just lay wood on the wings and beat the hell out of them. Yeah (laughter). If you put Reggie in todays game where you can barely breath on a player without there being a foul called and the way that he could move without the ball…Cmon on. Reggie wasnt the fastest and he wasnt the quickest, but he had the best footwork and quickest release. He knew his opponent and knew how to work the system. Absolutely. If Reggie was playing today whatever record that Ray Allen has, Reggie would have set that and then set it higher. No question.
Theres absolutely no comparison. You can talk about the athleticism and the ball handling skills which are needed at times. But you cant find anybody that shot the ball as well as my brother. Were not talking about setting nine or ten screens for him and all that kind of stuff. He can take somebody off the dribble with one dribble and with average foot speed; he could use that one step and release and still be an assassin. Theres no question in my mind about Reggie.
Who can argue with that? I wouldn’t, especially on Reggie’s birthday. May he have many more.