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Peck
01-29-2010, 06:34 PM
http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/q-a-with-reggie-miller/

How did the movie come about?

A.I got a call from Donnie Walsh, who is the president of the Knicks now but used to be with me for 18 years in Indiana. He told me that a good friend of his, Dan Klores, was doing a film for ESPN that was part of their 30 for 30 series and that he wanted to do something on the Pacers versus the Knicks. I was like, ďI donít know if I really want to go down that road again.Ē He told me to just give him a call, and so I gave Dan a call and he came out to L.A., and we sat down and he told me his vision for ďWinning Time.Ē And after that I was sold, and we jumped on board.



Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Reggie Miller and John Starks battling in the 1995 playoffs. Q.Was it fun reminiscing?

A.Itís funny because when youíre in the middle of any playoff series, whether itís against the Knicks of the Bulls or whomever, youíre really focused in on the task at hand, which is obviously winning the series. I never really looked at the news, I never read the newspapers because you know people plant stories and you never want to read whatís going on in the outside. You just want to focus in on what your game plan is.

So when I had a chance to see finished product a few months ago I was like, ďOh, my God.Ē I didnít believe Spike was saying some of these things, I canít believe the fans were saying some of these things, I canít believe I was saying some of these things. So, it was a little painful seeing some of the shots, some of the mistakes. Because youíre like, God I wish I could have done that better. I wish I wouldnít have done that more. Why didnít I rotate over like this? It was also therapeutic though.

Q.What was most surprising about the finished film?


A.Patrick Ewing was fantastic in the film. People always though Patrick was somewhat aloof. He never really jelled well with the New York media. This is as open as Iíve ever seen Patrick Ewing. And I think once youíre away from the game and you get a chance to reflect a little bit, obviously time does that and heals all wounds. But you will see different players in different lights during this film

Q.You were right there for some of Patrick Ewingís highest and lowest moments.

A.That is what this film also captures, is this great rivalry between two teams. I know a lot of it is billed with Reggie Miller and Patrick Ewing, but it is a rivalry between two teams, the fans, the cities, the states. It just shows you what a rivalry can do. I remember Boston and Los Angeles when I was growing up in L.A., the great Chicago versus New York rivalries, Detroit versus Chicago in the early 1990s. Those were great rivalries where fans could really jump on the bandwagon.

Q.The Knicks and the Pacers were such similar teams at that time, and it seemed there was some legitimate bad blood.

A.There was a lot of bad blood. It was for real. [Laughs.] Itís funny, in my travels today, people ask me if the things that were going on between you and Spike and the animosity between you and New York, was it staged or was it something that was set up? And Iím like, ďAbsolutely not.Ē I could not stand them; they could not stand us. The things that were said between Spike and I were real. There was no love lost.

I respected New York and New Yorkers and so forth. You had to build that up. If we were ever going to beat them, we had to build that up. Youíre 100 percent correct, because when you look on paper, both teams were just the same. They were well coached with Pat Riley and Larry Brown. There were hard-nosed players on both sides. You had Charles Oakley, you had Anthony Mason. I had my Davis boys. [Forwards Anthony and Dale Davis.] Both teams had great centers in Rik Smits and Patrick Ewing. And both teams did not want give up a layup. You were not going to give anyone a layup.

Q.You had some of your best moments at the Garden. What was it about the Garden, and what was it about New York?

A.To this day, the Garden and the fans, its the best venue. I donít care if itís baseball or football or basketball, any time youíre coming into New York City you want to do well. Itís the media capital of the world. They have the most knowledgeable fans, the most die-hard fans, and you want to perform well on the biggest stage. It wasnít just New York where I had my biggest games, but it was the biggest stage. and when you perform well on the biggest stage, more people see you and more people are going to know about it.

Q.Youíre remembered for clutch performances. What do you think made you a clutch player?

A.You got to be willing to fail, which I have plenty of times. People just more so remember the memorable times, but thereís other times when I missed shots or I got my shot blocked on a layup by Tayshaun Prince. There were other times as well that I didnít come out smelling like roses, but youíve got to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to put yourself in that position.

I donít know where it came from, from an early age, but I always wanted the ball in my hands if it was ever close and the game on the line. I wasnít worried about not having the pats on the back. I was more worried about getting the job done. I felt that I put so much time and perspiration into my workouts and trying to become the best shooter, so I had that much confidence in everything I had done, so why wouldnít I want the ball in my hands in that position? That was the kind of mind-set that I always approached games with.

Q.When did you get that confidence and that feeling that you wanted the ball?

A.Probably getting my shot blocked by Cheryl [his sister, a great collegiate player and Olympic gold medalist] and my older brothers all the time. Whenever you got a chance to win a ballgame, you had to be able to close it out against them. So maybe it came from those backyard beatdowns from my siblings and so forth, and I think it just grew into high school and college.

Q.Iíve read that your unique shooting style comes from trying to get shots over your sister Cheryl when you were little.

A.Thatís very true. When youíre getting your shot blocked constantly youíve got to change your trajectory a little bit. I donít have a textbook shooting style with my elbow in. I kind of shoot with my elbow out and with a higher arc. And maybe having those hands in my face kind of produced that.

Q.Was there any point in watching the movie where you winced a little bit and maybe regretted something you said?

A.In retrospect, in a playoff series you never want to give the other team any extra ammunition. Yeah, a lot of things I said back then I probably ó . You know I was young; I was 27, 28. I was brash, cocky. I wanted to uplift not only the Indiana Pacers, but the state of Indiana. We were front and center. Some things were said. Iíll never say I will take it back because I think that it made me who I am today, and it made us and it made the rivalry great. There are some moments in the film where I was kind of squirming a little bit when Spike is kind of explaining the choking and so forth, but that was a part of the game.


Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Spike Lee and Reggie Miller during a Knicks-Lakers game last November.Q.Did you know Spike Lee before any of this happened in 1995?

A.A little bit. Before the whole series, I had run into his at charity events. At the time, Magic had a charity game. So I had run into him at a few times. We werenít great friends, it was more, ďHey, thatís Spike Lee.Ē It all evolved once that series started.

Q.Are you friendly now?

A.Weíre better friends now. Time heals all wounds. We can talk about things now.

Q.Talk a little about trash talking. You were a big talker at a time when talking on the court really took off.

A.I mean, if youíre going to play basketball on the streets and on the blacktops, trash talking is a part of the game. To me, it toughened me up, and youíve got to be able to have quick comebacks and so forth. That was just how things are. I was never worried about talking. Everything came out naturally, and I guess I just have a gift for gab. I guess thatís why TNT hired me.

Q.Speaking of TNT, how have you made the transition to announcing?

A.Obviously when youíre calling a game, having played for almost 25, 26 years ó 18 professional plus college and high school ó you see the game in a different way than most people would see it. Especially someone whoís an intermediate basketball player or watching basketball as just a casual fan. You have to be able to set up plays and explain things in laymanís terms so they can understand it. I work with a fantastic crew with the czar, Mike Fratello, and obviously a Hall of Famer in Marv Albert. We have fun in what we do. We can be critical at times, but we can also let our hair down, even though a lot of us donít have hair.

We keep it real, we donít sugarcoat anything and it starts with Charles [Barkley]. Heís going to say whatís on his mind, and having the chance to work and be on the dais with him during the conference finals and go back and forth with him is a pleasure. Iíve known Charles for a long time and he speaks his mind, which is great, and he keeps it honest. And I think thatís why people tend to follow us because weíre not going to sugarcoat anything. If youíre playing bad weíre going to tell you youíre playing bad, and if youíre playing great weíre going to tell you youíre playing great. Thereís no in between, thereís no gray area. We like to have a good time.

Q.Do players ever react negatively to your criticism?

A.Thereís been a few guys that have come up and said: ďHey, whatís the deal? You played this game.Ē And I say: ďYeah, I played this game. Youíre dogging it.Ē Once they understand that weíre telling the truth ó Iím not out there trying to get my name in the paper. I was taught to play a certain way, and we just want to see a good product on the floor just like everyone else does.

Q.Whatís the solution to the drop in the level of play? Is contraction too drastic a solution?

A.The level of play to me has gone down, I wouldnít necessarily think we need contraction. If anything, I just wish the N.B.A. and the N.C.A.A. would come up with something like college football has where kids have to go to school two years. The ďone and doneĒ is ridiculous. Either let them come in after of high school or have them go to school at least two years. One of the two. The whole ďone and doneĒ is ridiculous because all you really have to do is enroll in your first semester or quarter, and thatís basically it. Itís ridiculous. Either keep them there two or three years or let them come right out of high school. Itís got to be one or the other.

Q.What about having the top 16 teams in the league qualifying for the playoffs rather than the top eight teams in each division.

A.I had posed that a while ago. But thatís just how the makeup is. Would it be a better tournament? Yes. Would travel be unbelievable and hard? For instance, if you had a No. 16 team thatís in the West like a Portland having to play a No. 1 team ó like if for instance Orlando was the No. 1 team in the East. That would be a very challenging seven-game series because of travel, but I think you would get the best teams facing one another.

But I have no problem with the West being stronger right now. If you look in the East, the best team with the best record percentagewise is the Cleveland Cavaliers, I believe. Yes, the West has more teams, but Boston, Orlando, Cleveland, they can play with anyone in the West.

Q.Whose game right now reminds you of your own, both in terms of cockiness and in terms of skill?

A.Itís hard to be cocky right now cause youíll get a fine for that. You canít talk and do some of the things that we used to be able to get away with.
Game-wise I would say Rip Hamilton and Kevin Martin. Thin, great coming off screens, can knock down treys. Cockiness? I love the swagger of Dwyane Wade. He doesnít talk a lot, but I love his swagger.

Q.Are there any talkers left in the league?

A.Itís not the same. Everyone hugs one another now and kisses before jump balls and pats each other and helps them up. Itís a kinder and gentler league. Chivalry is nice and all, but itís not the same.

Q.Do you have any regrets or anything you wish you had done differently?

A.I donít have any regrets, but if I had any wish list over my playoff career, you would have thought we would have had more than one playoff series with the Chicago Bulls. I just wish we would have had more than just that one seven-game memorable playoff series with them. Them being in our same division, and Michael and I playing pretty much in the í90s together, you would have though that we would have played more than that one time, but it was only that. If I would have had any wish list, I wish we could have played the Bulls more. Iím not saying that we would have won. I just wanted to go against him more during the playoffs.

Q.Do you think that the Pacers-Knicks series in 1999 and 2000 are underrated?

A.Oh, definitely. Those were just as competitive as the early ones with Pat Riley. I think [Jeff] VanGundyís teams, the 4-point play with Larry Johnson, us being coached by the legend Larry Bird. Just as competitive. It was still New York. [Latrell] Sprewell. Allan Houston.

Q.What is it like to have Donnie Walsh, your G.M. for so many years in Indiana, working with the Knicks?

A.Painful! Painful! [Laughs] But look, I wouldnít be at the level that I am today, working at TNT and the success of the Pacers definitely would not have been where we were without Donnie Walsh. He was the man, he was the van Gogh who put everything together and made everything click. He made the the right choices in coaches and personnel.

The Knicks are headed in the right direction, hopefully. They have a lot of money under the salary cap and hopefully they can get one or two of these free agents. It wonít be LeBron, but maybe they can get two others, and maybe theyíre going to get on the right track.

Q.So the Knicks arenít getting LeBron James?

A.No. Theyíre not getting LeBron.

Q.How do you describe the movie to people? Were you surprised by some of the operatic elements?

A.Can you believe that? Opera music in a basketball documentary? The music is unbelievable. People are going to be like, ďAre you kidding me?Ē The opening scene alone will have people on the edge of their seats. Weíre excited for it to air March 14 on ESPN. We have two premieres. We just premiered at Sundance to a standing ovation, but we have two big premieres coming up Feb. 26 in Indiana at Conseco Fieldhouse so the masses can come check it out. Itís going to benefit two great charities. And we have a March 2 premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater so New Yorkers can view it as well. I think the film will play different in different markets. [Laughs.] I canít wait to be in Imdiana to see how they perceive it as well as New York and see how they perceive it.

Q.Youíre going to the New York premiere?

A.I might have the whole Secret Service with me, but I will be there.

rexnom
01-29-2010, 06:44 PM
Fantastic. Thanks.

judicata
01-29-2010, 06:59 PM
Makes me wish I had appreciated '90s basketball a little more at the time.

the jaddler
01-29-2010, 09:50 PM
http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/q-a-with-reggie-miller/


Q.Are there any talkers left in the league?

A.Itís not the same. Everyone hugs one another now and kisses before jump balls and pats each other and helps them up. Itís a kinder and gentler league. Chivalry is nice and all, but itís not the same.



so true, so very true.....maybe there shouldnt be so much hugging!!!!