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Kstat
04-20-2005, 02:17 PM
Reggie Miller and Kevin Willis are the last two remaining NBA players were playing when I BEGAN watching basketball at the age of five. I never paid much attention to the Pacers at that time though, the only player I knew of was Chuck Person, because he was a great shooter, and as a kid I loved the three-ball. Still, there were years I forgot the Pacers existed, because they were perrennial failures. I lumped them in with the Kings, Mavericks, T-Wolves and Nets, as teams I never thought I'd see become winning franchises. Aside from 1990, they didn't really exist to me, and even then they didn't impress me in the playoffs.

Then, as the Bad boys quickly faded into oblivion, and I had to endure the new predicument of starting my offseason in mid-april, I looked around for interest. In 1994, I figured the Shaq-Penny sensation would take the Magic to the finals, and their series against the Pacers would be cake. But something wierd happened: the Pacers didn't roll over like I expected. They swept Orlando, and then knocked out Atlanta in round two.

Then came the 1994 ECF. At that point, I thought the Pacers making the finals would be akin to the clippers making the finals, so I watched that series intently. In game 5, it looked like NY was going to put the series away, but Reggie Miller, a kid known only for his run-in with Michael Jordan and his constant trash-talking, put on the greatest shooting performance I had ever seen. He hit like 6 ot 7 jumpers in a row at one point, and I actually started laughing after one of his longer shots, because if you put this kind of performance in a movie, nobody would believe it.

From that day on I've been a huge fan of Reggie Miller. He isnt a terribly great defender, post player, passer, or rebounder, but damn if he can't dominate a game simply by constantly moving and shooting jumpers. He's also the greatest pure clutch shooter of my generation. His percentage with the game on the line is remarkable. I watched him score 6 points in 3 seconds against NY in 1995. I watched him come back from a fractured eye socket to nearly single-handidly beat Atlanta in 1996. I watched him stand up to Jordan and the Bulls in 1998, and then put on a great performance in getting indiana to the finals in game 6 of 2000. I consider it a natural GIFT to be able to withstand the pressure and hit that game-winning shot, time and time again. Its not just something you can work for, just ask grant hill.

Ona side note, Reggie has made it easier for guys like Prince and Rip to be accepted, because he proved "skinny"-type players could play well and be durable in the NBA.

If you really think about it, his impact on a franchise that was a step below the CLIPPERS is quite remarkable. The fact he stayed 19 years on the same franchise is equally remarkable. As someone That's rooted against reggie miller for 18 years, I've come to have the utmost respect for him as an opponent. I wish that there could be another player that plays like him come into the league someday, but I doubt it. Reggie pays attention to the details, which is something the young kids today forget about. He also plays the mental game as well as anyoen I've seen since larry bird, which is another thing lost on these young kids. You don't get to that level of consistency without being able to out-think players half as young and twice as athletic.

Anyway, as someone who's respected and at the same time hated reggie as a division foe for close to two decades, I felt I owed him this much, as a tribute to a guy I grew up with, even if it took five years and a choke-taunt for me to start noticing him.

Unclebuck
04-20-2005, 02:25 PM
That was great

heywoode
04-20-2005, 02:28 PM
Very nice, Kstat...

Coming from a mostly non-Pacers fan makes it mean that much more...

beast23
04-20-2005, 02:31 PM
Very nice. I think you've summed up how many fans feel about Reggie.

Now, should Ron leave, are you going to offer us a post about how you love and respect players that put their whole being into playing defense?

Just kidding! That happens and Pistons fans everywhere will disown you.

Will Galen
04-20-2005, 05:27 PM
Very good, we might may a sports writer out of you after all! (grin)

ABADays
04-20-2005, 05:49 PM
May as well get this over with :rotflmao:

C'mon man - couldn't have been that painful!!!!! Seriously, very nice post. Honorable mention POY.