Reggie Miller will forever be known as one of basketball’s finest shooters. With his thin body frame and fundamentalistic, cold-blooded way of shooting, he carved his way as an all-time great – holding the NBA’s all-time triples made with 2,560 for such a long time until it was surpassed by fellow marksmanship legends Ray Allen and Stephen Curry.
Obviously, he accomplished many things as the former franchise player of the Indiana Pacers. Staying with the Hoosiers for the whole duration of his glorious time as a cager, what might seem disappointing on his part is that he came up short numerous times to lead his squad to the ultimate prize, most notably in 1999-2000 season wherein they came up short against a daunting opponent in Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.
But when he was offered the best opportunity for himself to win an elusive title ring prior to the 2007-2008 campaign with the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and the stacked Boston Celtics two years after hanging his shoes, he rejected the papers.
And in an interview with Bob Kravitz of The Athletic recently, Miller provided further perspectives.
“Look I knew they were stacked to win a championship, and they did, but it just wouldn’t have seemed right to be popping champagne in Boston when we (Indiana) grew up together, we laughed together, we cried so many tears together because we were so close for so many years,” Miller said. “How could I be sitting and cheering and laughing because I won my championship and all I ever wanted to do was win in Indiana?”
Miller was through the ups and downs of the franchise and making himself covered with gold and catching confetti with the C’s sounds unfair for his unselfish and lovable figure of Indiana basketball.
As such, Miller further pointed out that he chose to remain faithful to the legacy and relationship he built with the Pacers, honoring the fans’ uplifting support of him in his whole stay.
“People don’t understand – and we’ve seen this when LeBron came back to Cleveland, and now Milwaukee – when small markets win like that, and Indiana is in that category, it’s like winning three or four, it is. We’re not the Lakers, Boston, Chicago. When you win in a small market, those fans live and die with you.
“And Indiana is such a basketball state, winning there was all I wanted to do. I just knew how special it could be, so I could not in good faith put on another jersey when all my joy and sadness came in one jersey, with one franchise.”
No words can express how appreciative the Indiana faithful are to Miller. A lanky, harshly criticized six-foot-seven swingman who arrived from the prestigious University of California, Los Angeles in 1987, he embraced the whole city with all his heart and passion and will always consider it as his warming home forever.
With ring or no ring, Reggie Miller is an undisputed small market hero. In this world wherein turn coating remains rampant, consider this iconic sniper as the standard if you are leaning towards loyalty in the game.