View Full Version : Winning Time: Reggie Miller versus the New York Knicks (my review)

02-03-2010, 09:49 PM
A week ago, I was invited to attend today's media screening of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary "Winning Time: Reggie Miller versus the New York Knicks".

I was accompanied by Roaming Gnome, and we ran into count55, who was there representing JayRedd's website eightpointsnineseconds.com. We also talked with Twitter's El Pacero, who I believe sometimes posts here as ouzome.

After lunch at the Best Locker Room, we were directed to the Pacers' press conference room to sit and experience the movie.

The 1993-1995 era of Pacers/Knicks was slightly before my time.

While I was aware of the Pacers at that time, I wasn't yet fully on board as a "true fan" until the 1998 playoffs.

Even though I'd seen highlights of these playoff battles for years, including the re-broadcasting of a couple of the games themselves, it's just not the same as being there to witness it live, and I wish that I had been watching closely in the mid 90's.

However, even those in attendance who had, in fact, been there at the time were left feeling as though they had seen it all with a fresh new perspective.

While the documentary does what you would expect with regards to capturing the passion, physicality, and intensity that was constant from both sides in these epic playoff series, seeing it all again many years after the fact has shined a light on the humor of the entire situation.

Between modern and original commentary from fans, the media, players, coaches, and relatives, and classic sights and sounds remembered or rediscovered in the film archives, laughter was a constant companion of those in attendance.

Ultimately, while my opinion of the film was unflinchingly positive, the emotions I experienced were decidedly mixed.

First came joy as we were lead into the piece with an operatic overview of the entire 93-95 saga, followed by a brief history of both Miller and the Pacers, including draft night '87 and lottery night '85, where we're reminded that the Pacers very nearly drafted Patrick Ewing themselves.

Seeing Reggie, Dale, Rik, Antonio, Mark, and the rest in their primes again was great, and nothing's better than seeing them go toe to toe (and blow for blow) with the dreaded New York Knicks.

There was also a sense of the dreaded "what if." What if Indiana had defended home court in Game 6 in '94? What if things had turned out differently in the (not discussed) '95 ECF after finally vanquishing the Knicks in the semi-finals?

Regardless of whatever other feelings I might have had, the aforementioned sense of humor never left for long, including moments of both Reggie and Spike trying in vein to make us forget their immortalized, foul-mouthed, obnoxious, and sometimes controversial outbursts in the heat of the moment.

The laughter helped to remind us all, as Klores discussed in the afterward Q&A session, that despite everything: the anger, adoration, passion, and intensity, it's all just a silly little game called basketball that should never be taken too seriously.

Humor and proper perspective aside, what I'll take away more than anything was my sense of pride while remembering when the Pacers were good enough to not simply hang with the big boys, but to eventually punch the bully square in the nose and stand triumphant.

I was left not only proud of the past, but longing for a future where I can feel that way all over again.

02-03-2010, 10:08 PM
I am SO excited to see this when it premieres on nationwide.

I only wish I were closer to Indy so I could go see it at Conseco for the premiere there :(

02-03-2010, 10:26 PM
I can't wait to see it. Those mid 90s games are what made me a longterm fan.

02-03-2010, 10:37 PM
I can't wait to see it. Those mid 90s games are what made me a longterm fan.

The 2nd half of the '93-'94 season made me a long-term fan, but game 5 vs. Knicks in '94, in all ways, solidified it. It's why I'm here today.

Game 6 in '94 is the most depressing game I've been to. I cried after the game. I also very vividly remember walking into MSA and hearing over the speakers "after the Pacers win tonight, tickets for the NBA finals will go on sale this Saturday....".

Thanks for sharing the review. I'm showing this movie to all of my Cali friends as soon as I can. I think they'll understand why I go so far out of my way to follow this current team.

Roaming Gnome
02-03-2010, 10:46 PM
That is a really good review. I will add that the whole presentation made it feel like I was reliving the moments all over again. I even felt the disapointment all over of losing that game 6 at MSA in '94. That's an experience that I haven't felt just watching the games by themselves. Maybe it was the clips of "SportsCenter" that went along with the games and a few other things that gave "color" to the series.

I thought Dan Klores did a fine job of setting the scene for those most important games. He also gave great background on how good Cheryl was and how that basically made Reggie. I think a lot of our younger posters will learn something there and how what Reggie went up against being in the shadow of his sister. I thought the interviews were well placed within the framework of the game highlights.

In the Q&A, I thought the media did a fine job of asking questions like what was his inspiration in doing the film. Klores mentioned a photo that a lot of us are familiar with from the 98 season where Reggie is rising up and you can see the Knick fans in horror with their expressions. He mentioned that was one of his inspirations on doing the movie. He also mentioned that he was between this and a project that revolved around Larry Birds classic steal in the Finals. Klores mentioned that ESPN wanted the Miller story.

More to come from the Q&A...

02-03-2010, 10:53 PM
It was tough being a Pacer fan here during those times. I'm glad to see it come back.

Thanks for posting your review.

02-04-2010, 08:37 AM
The glory years....I was a kid watching the Pacers on WTTV-4 on a black and white TV in the seasons leading up to that season.. All the hours I spent watching a horrible team finally paid off. I remember being downtown at Sports Live when we first had success in the play-offs. Indy completely exploded (more than it exploded after the Super Bowl...if I can recall right). I remember Reggie, AD, and DD showing up to Sports Live and partying down, right there in the mix. I only wish we could duplicate the run we had then. The last couple of years remind me alot of the time prior to Reggie being drafted.

02-04-2010, 01:55 PM
It's funny to hear your perspective Hicks because I'd been a longtime die-hard for about 15 years prior to that era, and until the ECF run I didn't miss a playoff game. So for years I dealt with horrible failure. Then in 94 my coaching obligations kept falling on the same nights as home games. So I had to watch from a distance as they made that run, series after series, without being able to be there after all my support while they stunk.

Then it happened again in 95.

Finally in 96 I got a free day. I was able to go to game 5 of the ATL series. Are you freaking kidding me?!?

I move in the summer of 97. Gone 98, gone 99. Seriously, it wasn't funny at that point.

Finally after the decade was gone, I returned just in time to actually attend every game but game 4 of the Finals. So I guess it was worth the wait.

Sorry for that derail, it's just weird when I'm reminded of all the younger fans that were brought in because of the ECF rather than having those ECF runs be your reward like it was for us older posters.

The only thing close to what 94 felt like was Colts/Pats AFC win, and in that case the Colts had been elite for years. Really that's closer to what it felt like in 1995 when we did beat the Knicks finally.

Indy had parties at City Market next to MSA following BOTH ECF runs. Think about that. Think about holding a party after JO/Ron/Reggie lost to Detroit in 04. That was failure. In 94 losing the ECF was considered an epic triumph.

02-04-2010, 08:04 PM
Good stuff, Hicks. Interesting to hear.

Here are Count55's thoughts, which are decidedly more old man-centric


Tom Lewis of Cornrows and Mike Wells of Indy Star had their own takes, too. Great to relive the good times.



02-04-2010, 09:02 PM
I started watching the Pacers during the Clark Kellogg years. I suffered through the bad times, lived through the blossoming times, and am now dealing with the wilting times. Hopefully the cycle will continue and we will see the new blossoming times soon. Thanks for the review Hicks!

02-04-2010, 09:42 PM
Good stuff, Hicks

Here are Count55's thoughts, which are decidedly more old man-centric

I think "wise" is what you were going for here.

02-04-2010, 10:26 PM
Good stuff man. Nice job!