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drewdawg
04-20-2005, 10:04 AM
http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/11440588.htm

Shot clock runs out

There seem to be no shooting stars on the horizon as Reggie Miller retires without an heir apparent

By Mac Engel

STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER


Reggie Miller spent much of his youth taking jump shots, much to the detriment of the flowers behind the basket in the backyard of his childhood home.

Reggie couldn't drive past older brother Darrell, who would become a major league catcher. Reggie couldn't post up against older sister Cheryl, who became one of the most famous players in women's basketball.

So he shot over them, so many times, in fact, that when the ball swished through the net, it would always kill the flowers.

"I ended up spending a lot of time playing basketball, particularly with Cheryl," the Indiana Pacers guard said. "I guess it was just a natural evolution, because most of the kids I played against, including Cheryl, were taller, so I had to work on my outside game."

The outside game led to one of the most storied careers in NBA history. And, after 18 seasons, that career is coming to an end, as the 39-year-old Miller said he will retire after the playoffs. That would make his final regular-season game tonight when the Pacers host the Chicago Bulls.

When Miller Time is over, there will be memories of long-range shots and how, in particular, he tortured New York Knicks fans in Madison Square Garden. There will also be an enormous void to fill in the NBA. Pure jump shooters are precious commodities, and Miller is one of the last players who entered the league as a great shooter, and had a Hall of Fame career because of it.

"When anyone watches highlights these days, it's dunks, crossover dribbles, things like that, so it's only natural that everyone wants to do that," Miller said.

"Shooting isn't flashy. It also requires a lot of time and effort, especially when working on your mid-range jumper and the 3-point shot."

Clutch performances

Miller looked like a teen-ager as he walked through a suburban Indianapolis mall one day in 1990. He was a skinny kid wearing baggy jean shorts, a California Angels jersey and a backward cap.

On a professional basketball court, only his frame made him stand out. In a sea of human sculptures made by Bowflex, high protein and low-carb diets, Miller's Ally McBeal-ish 195 pounds on a 6-foot-7 frame have always been out of place in an NBA game.

But Miller is proof that there is a place in the game for a pure shooter. He averaged only three rebounds per game, and although listed as a guard, his 2.9 assists per game attest that he was never much for passing. Rarely did he beat defenders off the dribble and go to the basket.

"He baits you into fouls," Mavs guard Jerry Stackhouse said. "That is the thing you have to worry about with Reggie. You think he's frail and you can rough him up. By then, he has two fouls on you."

As the much-criticized 11th overall pick by the Pacers in the 1987 draft (Pacers fans wanted Indiana University star Steve Alford), Miller's reputation at UCLA and his probable induction into the Hall of Fame have been built on his shooting ability. He has few peers.

Seldom taking shots inside 10 feet, Miller is a career 47 percent shooter from the field, and 88 percent from the free-throw line. It was his love affair with the 3-point line and a dwindling game clock, however, that made him one of the most feared players the NBA ever knew.

He shot an outstanding 40 percent from 3-point territory, and his brash manner and playoff performances against the Knicks in the Garden helped make him an NBA legend.

"As a guy that's guarding him, when he gets going, you kind of wish the guy in the front row would shut up and leave him alone," said Jalen Rose, his former teammate on the Pacers, who is now with the Toronto Raptors.

And Miller was at his best when the spotlight was the brightest. He averaged 18.4 points during his career, but raised it to 21.1 points in the playoffs. In the 1997-98 season, Miller hit a remarkable 14 game-winning or game-tying shots, which infuriated opposing fans.

"It's a love-hate relationship," Pacers teammate Jermaine O'Neal. "You've got to hate him because you know he's going to do something in the game that's going to just totally destroy the chemistry of a team. But, when the game is over, you've got to say,'That guy is one of the best to ever play.' "

The Next Reggie?

Unlike when Michael Jordan retired, or re-retired, there has always been a player tabbed as the next Michael. LeBron James is the chic pick now.

But there is no next Reggie. No one wants to be the next Reggie. And the NBA game doesn't encourage the Reggie Miller types shooting it up in college.

"No one just wants a jump shooter," Stackhouse said. "No matter if you are Reggie or [Seattle's] Ray Allen. Shots don't fall all the time. You want guys who can drive, post up or pull up. Those guys are the potential pros."

Today's pros are, first and foremost, athletic. They can run, jump and defend. They play above the rim. Some might develop an outside shot as their career progresses.

Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Clyde Drexler, even Jordan were not good shooters when they turned pro. By the time they retired, all had become proficient, even prolific, shooters.

"All you have to do is look at some players that have longevity in the league," said Allan Houston, the Knicks guard and another pure shooter. "Guys like Clifford Robinson and Steve Smith -- their athleticism is gone, but they can still shoot."

The best 3-point shooters in the college game this past season -- Brendan Plavich from Charlotte and J.J. Redick from Duke -- aren't considered NBA players. An NBA scout said the 6-foot-2 Plavich is bound for Europe, and Redick is a "maybe" when it comes to the NBA.

The league's current "great" shooters -- Seattle's Ray Allen, Philadelphia's Kyle Korver, Milwaukee's Michael Redd and Sacramento's Peja Stojakovic -- also provide another dimension. Spot-up shooters of the past such as Del Curry, Craig Hodges or John Paxson have retired, and no heirs have appeared.

"There will never be another Reggie Miller, because there's never been another player in this league that has played the shooting guard position at a consistently high level as he's done for 18 straight years," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "Never been done, never will be done again."

Because of suspensions and injuries that have sidelined O'Neal, Ron Artest, Jamaal Tinsley and Stephen Jackson for large chunks of the season, Miller stepped back into the spotlight and helped lead the Pacers to the playoffs with some vintage performances.

He averaged 14.8 points per game, his highest in three seasons. He showed that the skinny kid hadn't lost the touch.

"I'm not the bulkiest guy out there, so it would have been more difficult for me to be an inside player," Miller said. "I'm pretty sure I could have played in the league, but there's no question my shooting has enabled me to have a pretty good career and a long career."

Big shots?

Who are Reggie Miller's heirs apparent as the best jump shooters in the NBA? Miller and Allan Houston mention these names:


Player Team Age Ppg. FG% FT% 3-pt.%
Michael Redd Bucks 25 23.0 .441 .854 .355
Ray Allen Sonics 29 24.0 .429 .883 .374
Peja Stojakovic Kings 27 20.1 .444 .920 .402
Kyle Korver 76ers 24 11.4 .417 .849 .407
Dan Dickau Hornets 26 12.6 .409 .836 .350
Luke Ridnour Sonics 24 10.0 .403 .879 .374

IN THE KNOW

Miller time!

Game 5

1994 Eastern Conference Finals

vs. Knicks at Madison Square Garden

The Pacers entered the fourth quarter trailing, but after a brief shouting match with Knicks fan Spike Lee, Miller scored 25 points to lead the Pacers to 93-86 victory and a 3-2 series lead. He was 5-of-5 from 3-point range in the final quarter, and finished the game with 39 points.

Game 1

1995 Eastern Conference semifinals

vs. Knicks at Madison Square Garden

The Pacers trailed the Knicks by six with less than 20 seconds to play, but Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to help the Pacers win in stunning fashion.

Game 4

1998 Eastern Conference semifinals

vs. Knicks at Madison Square Garden

Miller hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds remaining to force overtime, directly in front of Lee, with Knicks fans gasping when he caught the ball. Miller finished with 38 points as the Pacers defeated the Knicks in overtime.

Game 4

1998 Eastern Conference Finals


vs. Bulls at Market Square Arena

With Michael Jordan defending him, Miller, playing on a badly sprained ankle, pulled away to hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds remaining to give the Pacers a 96-94 victory. The Pacers lost the series in seven games, but were the only team to push the Bulls to an elimination game in three seasons.

Game 6

2000 Eastern Conference Finals

vs. Knicks at Madison Square Garden

Miller scored 34 points, 17 in the fourth quarter, to help the Pacers defeat the Knicks and advance to their lone NBA Finals appearance. It was the last of his nine 30-point-plus outputs against the Knicks in the playoffs.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mac Engel, (817) 390-7760 tengel@star-telegram.com

drewdawg
04-20-2005, 10:04 AM
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050420/OPINION/504200381/1002

today's editorial
Reggie bows out as a winner



Our position is: No one has graced the Hoosier hardwood more magnificently than Reggie Miller.

Few basketball heroes in this basketball-crazy state have been as improbable as Reggie Miller, who is playing his last regular-season home game for the Indiana Pacers tonight.

Born with pronated hips, he wore braces during much of his early childhood. It was questionable if he would even walk. Throughout high school in Riverside, Calif., he played in the shadow of his talented sister, Cheryl Miller. UCLA reportedly gave him a scholarship only when it failed to land Antoine Joubert or Reggie Williams.

The Pacers had hoped to land Williams or Ohio State's Dennis Hopson in the 1987 draft, but both were gone by the time the team made the 11th draft selection that year and picked Miller. Many thought he was too frail and didn't have the legs to succeed in the pros. Indiana fans, who wanted Steve Alford, booed the selection.

As a player, Miller has never been particularly athletic. As Chicago Tribune sportswriter Sam Smith aptly observed, "No one, perhaps, has done more in pro sports with fewer gifts."

Nor was Miller a native-born Hoosier in a state that likes its basketball legends homegrown. Yet no one who has graced the hardwood in this state has provided more thrills and heroics for Hoosier hoops fans than Reggie Miller. And among a pantheon of Indiana basketball legends, only Oscar Robertson has scored more points as a pro.

Larry Bird once paid Miller the ultimate compliment, noting that when coaching the Pacers he often had the urge to insert himself in the lineup at the end of games. But alluding to Miller, Bird added, "I'd probably put myself in to pass him the ball."

Where to begin when listing reasons why this player is so revered by Pacers fans? His league-leading three-point totals? The Knicks-slaying memories? Those 39 points in a game at age 39? His leadership? Miller's loyalty to the Pacers franchise in a profession where allegiance is as durable as the expiration date on a contract? His generosity to this community?

In the end what will be missed most when No. 31 eventually leaves the court one last time is the loss of possibilities. Miller always believed in his own limitless potential and taught a generation of Pacers fans to believe along with him. No matter whom the opponent or how little time left on the clock, as long as Reggie Miller had the ball, winning was always possible.

Take a bow, Reggie.

drewdawg
04-20-2005, 10:05 AM
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/mld/myrtlebeachonline/sports/11439137.htm

Miller shows effort of champion in final season

Shooter in familiar role as team leader

By Michael Marot

The Associated Press


INDIANAPOLISHe has spent 18 years in the NBA, dueling with Michael Jordan and trading courtside taunts with Spike Lee. Reggie Miller, his shot as smooth as any to grace the league, is down to his final games in this farewell season, bringing an entire team with him.

"Personally, I took it upon myself that I was going to try and will this team in any shape or form to make the playoffs," he said.

Miller did that, all right, still a threat at 39. He helped the Indiana Pacers clinch their eighth straight playoff berth last week and made some question whether retirement was the wisest career move. Coach Rick Carlisle would love for Miller to stay, but he's willing to face facts.

"It's not going to happen and I respect that completely," he said. "You've got to respect that because Reggie has earned the right to leave the game on his terms, and there aren't many guys who have been able to do that after 18 years."

The Pacers were a favorite for the NBA title before this season. Then they dropped eight of 11 games following a Nov. 19 brawl in Detroit for which three starters were suspended a total of 128 games. Now they are back in contention.

Miller is the main reason, filling the void left by injuries and the suspensions of All-Stars Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal and starter Stephen Jackson. He assumed the role of team leader in early March, when O'Neal injured his right shoulder. It was a role he knew well but had abdicated when O'Neal signed a $126 million contract in 2003.

In the last six weeks, Miller has averaged 20 points, occasionally producing the late scoring bursts that have defined his career - the latest coming last week when he scored seven points in 22 seconds to help push the Pacers to another victory.

"Reggie is back to the Reggie of 10 years ago," Pacers chief executive officer Donnie Walsh said. "He's making all the shots. Every time he does something, I look back and say and think, 'Well, he's been doing it a long time, so why am I surprised?'"

It wasn't always this way for Miller.

Indiana drafted him out of UCLA in 1987 with the 11th pick, and Pacers fans booed. They wanted hometown favorite Steve Alford, who had led Bob Knight's Hoosiers to the NCAA championship.

Miller paid no heed, quickly establishing himself as the team's first real NBA star. The Pacers, once a laughingstock that reached the playoffs twice in their first 11 NBA seasons, became a perennial contender.

Miller won over fans with his play and his playfulness. His game-saving 3-pointers became his signature. He was one of the league's best foul shooters, ranking seventh for his career at nearly 90 percent. He also had his own way of drawing fouls - kicking out his leg, a tactic that New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank last week acknowledged as Miller's move.

Miller will leave the game with a league record of more than 2,500 3-pointers. Nobody else is even close, and his teammates have a little more than 1,700 3-pointers combined.

He has scored more than 25,000 career points, more than all but 11 players in league history, and is the first Pacers player to record 1,500 steals. He and John Stockton are the only players to log more than 47,000 minutes with one team.

With or without a championship ring, Miller couldn't have envisioned a better ending for No. 31.

"I'm going to be walking away with a smile on my face," he said. "Because no matter what happens in the playoffs, from here on out, this franchise, this organization and myself will be champions."

drewdawg
04-20-2005, 10:05 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/pacers/2005-04-19-miller_x.htm

Pacers' Miller not about to leave quietly
By Roscoe Nance, USA TODAY
Reggie Miller is still making his mark in the NBA even as his 18-year career comes to a close.

Reggie Miller loved sticking the three-point dagger into teams to finish them off.
By Darron Cummings, AP

Miller, the most prolific three-point shooter in league history and one of its all-time great clutch performers, has seen what was an 18.4 points a game career average dip to 14.8 this season. But he has been on a scoring binge the last six weeks while leading the undermanned Indiana Pacers into the playoffs as the No.6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

"Everybody is seeing he has some more left in him," Milwaukee Bucks coach Terry Porter says.

Miller, No. 12 on the list with more than 25,000 points, had deferred to All-Stars Jermaine O'Neal, Ron Artest and other younger teammates the last six seasons after leading Indiana in scoring 10 years in a row.

But Miller, 39, stepped back into the spotlight with O'Neal on the injured list for 22 games after spraining his right shoulder March 3, point guard Jamaal Tinsley out with a bruised foot and Artest suspended for the season for his role in the Nov. 19 brawl at the Detroit Pistons' Palace of Auburn Hills.

"My main focus is to get this team into the playoffs," says Miller, who in February announced this would be his final season. He won't talk in-depth about his pending retirement. "We've been short-handed with the suspensions and Jermaine going down. It seemed like we were going to be sitting behind the eight ball. But we've found a way to win games."

The Pacers were 28-29 and eighth in the East when O'Neal was lost. They had lost three consecutive games and held a one-game lead in the race for the final playoff berth when Miller turned back the clock to average 19.9 points as the Pacers went 15-7.

"Dire circumstances have a tendency to bring out the greatness in great people," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle says. "There was something deep down in Reggie's soul that has allowed him to play at an All-Star level. Without it, we'd be out of the playoff race."

Three of Miller's six 30-point games, his most since the 2000-01 season, have come since O'Neal was hurt.

"He went into another gear," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh says of Miller. "I didn't know he could get to it."

Miller's locker room leadership has been just as vital as his scoring.

His approach to the game has been an inspiration, his teammates say.

"Not one time did he come in and look like it was over," O'Neal says.

Miller continued doing what he had always done, showing up early for extra shooting, studying tapes of his opponents and practicing hard.

One-team guys
Reggie Miller is retiring from the NBA after playing 18 seasons for the team with which he started. John Stockton holds the NBA record for the most seasons playing exclusivly with one team (19 — 1984-2003) Most NBA seasons with one team, active players

Seasons Player, team First season
18 Reggie Miller, Indiana 1987-88
10 Kevin Garnett, Minnesota 1995-96
9 Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers 1996-97
9 Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 1996-97
8 Adonal Foyle, Golden State 1997-98
8 Tim Duncan, San Antonio 1997-98
8 Austin Croshere, Indiana 1997-98
Most seasons with one team, by sport, active players
21 NHL Steve Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings 1983-84*
18 MLB Craig Biggio, Houston Astros 1988
13 NFL Jason Hanson, Detroit Lions 1992

"He approaches the game like it's his first year," swingman Stephen Jackson says. "The reason this team has been able to win games and play the way we have is because the professionalism and leadership he has shown. He locks in and doesn't let anything distract him. When you see ... how serious he takes it, you can't help but be serious about it, too."

Miller's contributions in the community are a big part of his legacy and a major reason he spent his entire career with Indiana.

"He has lived up to everything you could ask of a player," Walsh says. "There is really a great value to having a player on a team who can do it (on the court) and stand for all the right things and be a mainstay in the community. He has become a landmark-type guy."

Miller was the recipient of the NBA's 2004 J. Walter Kennedy Community Service Award, and he started the Reggie Miller Foundation in Indianapolis to assist fire victims. He frequently makes surprise visits to elementary schools in Central Indiana and is involved in several charitable activities that aren't publicized.

"Forget about the clutch shots. The reason he's there is he has invested himself in that community," Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers says. "It would be nice if all our young players saw that. He's very important for our league in that way."

Miller's play down the stretch has left in awe many of those he has victimized during his career.

"You can't leave him open," Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan says, noting it's a dangerous practice to use the defender who is guarding Miller to double-team another player who has the ball. "When I was an assistant with the Nets and we played them, we had 'Reggie rules.' ... Usually in team defense, you help off the ball. But you don't help off Reggie. He's like that today. The things he does are remarkable."

Miller has always seemed to be at his best when the games meant the most, as evidenced by his 21.2-point career playoff average.

He scored eight points in 8.9 seconds in a conference semifinal game against New York in the 1995 East semifinals. He scored 25 points in the fourth quarter of a 1994 East finals game, again at Madison Square Garden, making a record five three-pointers.

Performances such as those make him a villain for opposing fans, who routinely heckle him on the road. The heckling seems to only inspire Miller.

"People look at him as being the enemy," teammate Dale Davis says. "He takes pride in sticking the dagger in them."

There is little that Miller won't do to irritate opponents. He made flopping — to make it appear as though he were fouled — an art form, and he will grab, hold and push defenders to get open for a shot.

"I think a lot of guys want to pop him because of all the little stuff he does," says Porter, whose 17-year playing career overlapped much of Miller's.

That would have been OK with Miller, too, if he thought it would help him and the Pacers win a championship. That has been his goal since the Pacers made him the 11th pick in the 1987 draft, bypassing fan favorite Steve Alford of Indiana University.

Miller has gotten the Pacers close to the title he covets, reaching the conference finals six times and the NBA Finals once.

"I've come close," he says, "and I still have some games left to do that."

drewdawg
04-20-2005, 10:06 AM
http://www.thejournalnet.com/Main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=113&ArticleID=50477

Player’s style wows boy, family
By SHERRI CONER
Daily Journal staff writer
sconer@thejournalnet.com

April 20, 2005

Tricia Milto thought Reggie Miller might show up for the Make-A-Wish moment wearing a practice jersey.

She thought Miller would shoot a few hoops, smile at her son, Nathan, and call it a day.

But Miller surprised Tricia, her husband, Phil, and Nathan, 10, who suffers from Batten disease, a rare, genetic and terminal condition.

When Miller strutted onto the basketball court at Conseco Fieldhouse that afternoon in March 2003, he was outfitted to play some serious basketball: Wrist bands, team shoes and everything in between.

“(It was) as if it was a real Pacer game,” Milto said with a smile from the family’s White River Township home. “He came out, totally dressed to the hilt. Reggie was ready to play.

“He was totally into it.”

Working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to make Nathan’s wish complete, Phil Milto created a script for a fictional game.

Pacers radio announcers Mark Boyle and Bobbly “Slick” Leonard and Pacers television play-by-play announcer Al Alberts announced the entire event in a recorded script, which included Nathan Milto and Miller playing together for the Pacers against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

Dressed in his favorite Pacers jersey, Nathan was pushed onto the basketball court in his wheelchair. With the recorded action booming through the speakers, Phil Milto maneuvered Nathan’s chair around the court.

A little boy’s imagination was in full swing that day.

Nathan Milto and his favorite Pacers player battled the Bulls in the final game of the playoffs.

Family and friends cheered from the sidelines.

“Reggie was chanting, ‘Nathan, you can do it. I know you can,’” Tricia Milto said.

The Pacers won the championship against the Chicago Bulls, according to Phil Milto’s script.

Miller then bent down to thank Nathan for helping him win the ring.

“Reggie was jumping up and down and celebrating like he actually had won the game,” Tricia Milto said.

Tricia Milto then reached for the Pacer jersey, autographed by Miller for Nathan.

“Reggie signed Nathan’s jersey, ‘To Nathan, thanks for the ring,’” she said. “Reggie may have never won a championship ring. But he is certainly our champion. He is such a stand-up guy.

“And he helped create a memory for a family that will never be forgotten.”

drewdawg
04-20-2005, 10:07 AM
http://www.boston.com/sports/articles/2005/04/20/too_tough_to_call/

Too tough to call
Sixers or Pacers? Answer tonight
By Peter May, Globe Staff | April 20, 2005

CLEVELAND -- Philadelphia or Indiana?

Allen Iverson and Chris Webber or Reggie Miller and Jermaine O'Neal? Merion or Crooked Stick? Bookbinder's or St. Elmo's? Jim O'Brien or Rick Carlisle? US Airways or US Airways?

Those are the Celtics' choices for their first-round opponent in the upcoming playoffs. It will be the Pacers if Indiana wins tonight (against Chicago, at home) or the Sixers lose at home to Atlanta. If Philadelphia wins and Indiana loses, the teams will tie for No. 6 with the 76ers getting the spot because of their head-to-head advantage (Philadelphia swept the season series, 4-0).

"How about another choice?" offered Celtics coach Doc Rivers before last night's game against the Cavaliers.

Atlanta? "I'll take that," he said.

The Celtics lost the season series to both teams (2-1 to Indiana and 3-1 to the Sixers.) "Both are tough," said Rivers.

Added Ricky Davis, "It really don't matter because if we play the way we're supposed to play, it won't matter.

"Iverson and Webber would be tough. Reggie would be tough. You never know with him. But I don't want to say anything bad about either team."

While we'll have to wait until tonight to discover the identity of the Celtics' opponent, we already know when Game 1 of the series will take place, thanks to the scheduling folks at the networks. The game will be Saturday night at 8, on ESPN.

drewdawg
04-20-2005, 10:08 AM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/chris_ballard/04/19/daily.blog/

Hooray for old guys
In a young man's game, Reggie Miller keeps shining

Two weeks ago, I headed to Indianapolis to report on Reggie Miller, who I must by sportswriting law refer to as "ageless." It is a fitting adjective, however. The 39-year-old Miller has been remarkable this season, averaging 14.8 points and close to 20 per game since March 3, when Jermaine O'Neal went down with an injury (he recently returned).

During the week, as I spoke to people in and around the Pacers, two themes emerged: Reggie is immortal and we really like Reggie.

Rick Carlisle, who once played against a young, bad-fade-sporting Miller, spent the better part of 10 minutes waxing eloquent about how we'll never see another player like him. His argument: it is one thing for a small forward or center to be effective at 39, but entirely another for a two guard such as Miller, who must chase players like Jason Richardson and Larry Hughes.

Assistant coach Chuck Person, who entered the NBA one season before Miller but has horizontally expanded since then to the point where you could probably fit two Reggie Millers into one Chuck Person, marveled at Miller's stamina. "There's a lot of juice left in that orange," Person said.

Maybe. But what has made Miller's anomalous play this season interesting is exactly that: it is an anomaly. The NBA has always been a young man's game. But for some reason, we are in a golden age of youth. Or, seen from another view, the dark age of decrepitude.

Julio Franco, who is as old as you want to believe he is but certainly over 45, is hitting .316 for the Braves. Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson are dominating in their 40s. Jerry Rice just finished playing another season and he was born in 1962. Everywhere in sports, improved training, diet and kickass pharmaceuticals (both legal and illegal) are allowing players to play longer ... except in basketball.

The average age of the league's top 10 scorers -- a list that includes Gilbert Arenas, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant -- is 26. Among the top 40 qualifying scoring leaders, Allen Iverson is an old man at 29 and only Shaquille O'Neal (12th in the league) is over 30 years old. In fact, other than O'Neal and Miller, one has to delve deep to find anyone in their mid-30s. David Wesley, 34, is averaging 11.8 points per game, followed by Gary Payton, 36 (11.4 ppg). One has to go single digits to find a truly crusty player, one who can trace his playing days back to the Bird/Magic era: Uncle (or is that Grampa?) Cliffy Robinson at a robust 7.7 points and 38 years of age.

Compare this to 1998, when the average age of the top 10 scorers was just under 30. Your leaders included Michael Jordan (35), Karl Malone (35), Mitch Richmond (33), Glen Rice (31) and David Robinson (33). One could have started a team of over-35 players and had a chance at winning the NBA title. Today, that lineup would have a hard time holding court at the local Y: Payton, Miller, Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo and -- who? - Kevin Willis.

Why is this? Maybe, since players are coming into the league at younger and younger ages, they burn out faster physically (Chris Webber being a good example). Maybe it's just a generational change-of-shift; the Jordan/Malone/Robinson/Stockton crew having just gotten off work. Maybe it's that the game is morphing; it's faster-paced, more physical on defense and more athletic. A guy like Reggie Evans, who has no discernible basketball skills (ever seen him attempt a running layup?) can start in the NBA. Or maybe it's a salary issue; it's cheaper to get a marginal young player than a marginal older one.

Whatever it is, it's a shame. Part of what makes the playoffs so entertaining is the clash of the old and new, with the old invariably forcing the new through various initiation rites (as Jordan and O'Neal suffered through).

Today, the "old" consists of guys like Tim Duncan, Kobe and Kevin Garnett, none of whom are 30. What's more, in this unusual year, two of those guys aren't even in the playoffs. The top seed in the West, Phoenix, has four starters, excluding Steve Nash, who are so young they could have played in the Southeast bracket this past year and no one would have batted an eye. Seattle is similarly young (Ray Allen isn't even 30 and he's their grizzled vet), as is most of the East.

All I can say is thank goodness for Miller and Shaq. Miller because he might give us one last playoff memory -- the savvy old shooter flailing his way to the free throw line or draining a big three -- and Shaq because it's hard to have drama without a kingpin. Cocky, wise and appropriately creaky, he surveys the rest of the league from on high. Here's to hoping both advance deep into the playoffs. Young players may make the game exciting to watch, but old guys make it interesting.

Peck
04-20-2005, 10:12 AM
http://www.thejournalnet.com/Main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=113&ArticleID=50477

Player’s style wows boy, family
By SHERRI CONER
Daily Journal staff writer
sconer@thejournalnet.com

April 20, 2005

Tricia Milto thought Reggie Miller might show up for the Make-A-Wish moment wearing a practice jersey.

She thought Miller would shoot a few hoops, smile at her son, Nathan, and call it a day.

But Miller surprised Tricia, her husband, Phil, and Nathan, 10, who suffers from Batten disease, a rare, genetic and terminal condition.

When Miller strutted onto the basketball court at Conseco Fieldhouse that afternoon in March 2003, he was outfitted to play some serious basketball: Wrist bands, team shoes and everything in between.

“(It was) as if it was a real Pacer game,” Milto said with a smile from the family’s White River Township home. “He came out, totally dressed to the hilt. Reggie was ready to play.

“He was totally into it.”

Working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to make Nathan’s wish complete, Phil Milto created a script for a fictional game.

Pacers radio announcers Mark Boyle and Bobbly “Slick” Leonard and Pacers television play-by-play announcer Al Alberts announced the entire event in a recorded script, which included Nathan Milto and Miller playing together for the Pacers against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

Dressed in his favorite Pacers jersey, Nathan was pushed onto the basketball court in his wheelchair. With the recorded action booming through the speakers, Phil Milto maneuvered Nathan’s chair around the court.

A little boy’s imagination was in full swing that day.

Nathan Milto and his favorite Pacers player battled the Bulls in the final game of the playoffs.

Family and friends cheered from the sidelines.

“Reggie was chanting, ‘Nathan, you can do it. I know you can,’” Tricia Milto said.

The Pacers won the championship against the Chicago Bulls, according to Phil Milto’s script.

Miller then bent down to thank Nathan for helping him win the ring.

“Reggie was jumping up and down and celebrating like he actually had won the game,” Tricia Milto said.

Tricia Milto then reached for the Pacer jersey, autographed by Miller for Nathan.

“Reggie signed Nathan’s jersey, ‘To Nathan, thanks for the ring,’” she said. “Reggie may have never won a championship ring. But he is certainly our champion. He is such a stand-up guy.

“And he helped create a memory for a family that will never be forgotten.”


My God.

Reggie Miller is a champion.

This goes beyond being a star this is being a true champion as a human.

Suaveness
04-20-2005, 10:19 AM
What a terrific individual. You don't get many people like him nowadays. I am so proud to have watched him play for all these years.

PaceBalls
04-20-2005, 12:23 PM
"It's a love-hate relationship," Pacers teammate Jermaine O'Neal. "You've got to hate him because you know he's going to do something in the game that's going to just totally destroy the chemistry of a team. But, when the game is over, you've got to say,'That guy is one of the best to ever play.' "

JO, again, inserts foot in mouth. what the heck is he talkin about?

Hicks
04-20-2005, 12:34 PM
"It's a love-hate relationship," Pacers teammate Jermaine O'Neal. "You've got to hate him because you know he's going to do something in the game that's going to just totally destroy the chemistry of a team. But, when the game is over, you've got to say,'That guy is one of the best to ever play.' "

JO, again, inserts foot in mouth. what the heck is he talkin about?

I totally missed that, and had to slowly look for it in the above articles. Sure enough, it's there. What the hell is he thinking?

blanket
04-20-2005, 12:35 PM
"It's a love-hate relationship," Pacers teammate Jermaine O'Neal. "You've got to hate him because you know he's going to do something in the game that's going to just totally destroy the chemistry of a team. But, when the game is over, you've got to say,'That guy is one of the best to ever play.' "

JO, again, inserts foot in mouth. what the heck is he talkin about?

He doesn't make it very clear, but I think Jermaine is speaking from the perspective of the opposing team's fans, saying they hate Reggie for making the big shots that break their team's morale, but they also love him for being great at what he does.

PHC Fan
04-20-2005, 12:36 PM
I totally missed that, and had to slowly look for it in the above articles. Sure enough, it's there. What the hell is he thinking?
I think that it is being taken out of context. JO is referring to opposing fans and teams have to hate him.

edit: Blanket, you JUST beat me to the punch.

drewdawg
04-20-2005, 12:40 PM
I believe he is talking about the chemistry of the opposing team. You'll notice that the preceding paragraph was talking about him hitting game winning or tying shots that infurate fans (and teams alike).

Thus I take it as Jermaine saying that the opposing team/fans are upset with Reggie for doing that to them as well as mad at each other for letting it happen but at the same time taking a step back and seeing just how amazing what just happened was.

blanket
04-20-2005, 12:41 PM
On another note, can we talk about these snippets from the Reggie interview at pacers.com:

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/reggie_interview.html


Q. It's hard to envision a Pacers team without you, yet that's the reality we all must face next season. What message would you like to send to your teammates to help them succeed in your absence?

A. If they can learn to work as a cohesive unit. I was probably caught up, my first two years, in making a name. Well, all these guys have made their names. They've made All-Star teams, made All-NBA, made Defensive Player of the Year. So they have the accolades. Now is the time to forget about stats. Who cares who gets 25? Who cares who leads the team in assists or steals or whatever? If they can play together as a team and not worry about all the little petty stuff, they are the best team in the league, talent-wise. If the game starts and they just play as a team, as a unit, no one can beat them. But they have to understand that first. Once they have that golden shining moment and it comes to them in a dream or whatever and they understand that, that's when this team and this franchise will go to another level from where it was when I was here.

and...


Q. Who were your favorite teammates?

A. Mark (Jackson) and Dale (Davis) start off at the top of the list. Vern (Fleming) and Herb Williams took me under their wing my first three years. And Chuck (Person). Antonio and Dale were my original bodyguards. They allowed me to do whatever I wanted out there and I knew they always had my back. Derrick (McKey), when there were guys I knew I couldn't guard, he slid over and took 'em for me. Rik (Smits), who probably didn't get the credit he deserved because he was so maligned because at 7-5 everybody thought he should be the next God. I like Jeff (Foster), even though he doesn't have the physicality of Dale or Antonio, he does the little things. I just wish he would be more tough and play a little bit more like Dale and Antonio and Bill Laimbeer. He already has that edge and he looks crazy enough that people aren't going to mess with him and that's all you need in this league, a little bit of rep.

First of all, he says the team's biggest issue is a lack of cohesiveness as a team, and too much focus on individual stats and accolades. Any guesses which teammates he has in mind?

Secondly, in the other quote, it's interesting to see his criticisms of Jeff Foster. Maybe having Dale around another season or two (hopefully) will teach Jeff how to have that tougher attitude and edge.

Anthem
04-20-2005, 12:42 PM
"It's a love-hate relationship," Pacers teammate Jermaine O'Neal. "You've got to hate him because you know he's going to do something in the game that's going to just totally destroy the chemistry of a team. But, when the game is over, you've got to say,'That guy is one of the best to ever play.' "

JO, again, inserts foot in mouth. what the heck is he talkin about?

He's talking about being on the team that Reggie destroys.

I thought it was good.

Anthem
04-20-2005, 12:45 PM
First of all, he says the team's biggest issue is a lack of cohesiveness as a team, and too much focus on individual stats and accolades. Any guesses which teammates he has in mind?

Off the top of my head, I'd say Ron, Jermaine, Tinsley, and Jack in that order.

NotLosingButWinning
04-20-2005, 01:04 PM
Off the top of my head, I'd say Ron, Jermaine, Tinsley, and Jack in that order.

tinsley? really? i just don't see him being like that, maybe before last season but since then i haven't seen anything that would make me think this.

PaceBalls
04-20-2005, 01:07 PM
Ok, I hope that's what JO is gettin at. It didnt seem so clear to me. But I'll go along and assume he doesnt think Reggie destroys the Pacers team chemistry... like JO seems to *cough* fadeaway jumpshot with all 5 defenders on him *cough*

grace
04-20-2005, 01:20 PM
I'm possitive Jermaine's quote was taken out of context. I'm sure he was talking about how other teams see Reggie. If he wasn't taken out of context then he should be run out of town on a rail.:mad: