TNT ANALYST IN MIAMI TONIGHT
After Picking Pistons,
Reggie Faces Pacers
By Conrad Brunner | Nov. 3, 2005
Before he actually appeared in front of the cameras in his new capacity as a courtside and studio analyst with TNT, Reggie Miller was concerned his 18-year association with the Pacers might have an unintended impact on his commentary.
"Iíve told everyone from the beginning that I apologize if I say 'we' when Iím calling Pacers games," Miller said in a teleconference Monday. "I'm trying to wean myself from saying 'we' in conversations, but for 18 years thatís all I knew."
He then promptly went out and dashed any notions he would be an Indiana apologist. His first night on the air, during Tuesday's network doubleheader, he picked the Pistons to win the Eastern Conference and expressed concern about "chemistry problems" among his ex-teammates, adding that "any little thing can set Indiana off."
Miller will be courtside in Miami tonight when the Pacers face the Heat, his first Ė but certainly not last Ė look at his old team from a new perspective. In his new role, Miller will work with studio hosts Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley was well as hitting the road to work as a courtside analyst throughout the course of the season.
"I talked to Reg the other night when he was in town (for the Monster Masquerade Saturday) and I told him to be sure to pump the Pacers," said Jermaine O'Neal. "It hasn't been a tough transition period with Reggie not being here. You guys would not even believe, Reggie talked about not being here so much, we were like, 'OK, Reg, you're not going to be here next year.' Reggie's a smart guy. He knew how to position the team (for his absence). Everybody's accepted it. There hasn't been any talk about it. Guys have locked on in what we have to do personally and as a team.
"Hopefully we'll go in and play the way we need to play and that'll be enough for Reg. It'll be tough for Reg to talk about the Pacers as a spectator and as a fan, so we have to do our part to make him proud and make him happy about what he left behind."
Miller expressed no regrets about the incident in Detroit that resulted in suspensions that crippled the team, though a title contender was reduced to battling for playoff scraps. In fact, he found a silver lining in that darkest of clouds.
"Things happen for a reason," he said. "I never want to play the 'could've, would've, should've' game. When the fight went down, we didnít have a full compliment of players. We had everyone the year before and we lost to the Pistons in six games. If we all want to struggle with what should have been, we had a full compliment of players the year before.
"In the long run, I think it helped the Pacers out because Freddie Jones got some valuable time and David Harrison, who was a rookie last year, got some playing time. In the long run, those guys got some valuable court time so hopefully it will help the Pacers this year and down the road because those guys got accustomed to the NBA much faster.Ē
Regardless of his opinions, the Pacers will be glad to see their former captain who has moved comfortably into his new life, splitting time as a movie producer and television analyst.
"He's got to work," said Stephen Jackson. "He's got to feed his family. He's still Reggie Miller to me, whether he's on the sidelines, shooting movies, whatever, I still have the same respect for him."
But what if he reveals inside secrets about the team?
"Whatever information he has," Jackson said, "we respect his decision to say it."