The Pacers' all-time leader in 13 major categories, including scoring, will retire at season's end.
Reggie Miller has played 18 seasons with the Pacers, trailing only John Stockton, who was with Utah for 19 seasons. -- Matt Kryger / The Star
By Mark Montieth and Mike Wells
February 11, 2005
Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller, the most popular and recognized athlete in the city's sports history, has made it official: He will retire at the end of this season.
Miller informed Pacers' coach Rick Carlisle of his decision early Thursday evening. The public announcement was delivered through his sister, Cheryl, on a TNT broadcast later in the evening.
"It's not a shock," Carlisle said. "I guess it's a sobering dose of reality that this is the last season to see one of the game's greatest players."
Miller, who turns 40 in August, has said in recent years that he didn't plan to play past the age of 40, and said before this season began that this probably would be his final season.
The finality of Thursday's announcement, however, comes as a sad occasion for most Pacers fans, who have grown to view him as the face of the franchise. Chants of "Reg-gie, Reg-gie" became a postseason mantra in home games at Market Square Arena and Conseco Fieldhouse, where Miller has played all of his home games.
Miller considers the fact he has played his entire career -- 18 seasons -- with one franchise as one of his prouder accomplishments. John Stockton, who played 19 seasons with Utah, is the only player in NBA history who has played longer for only one franchise.
"The one thing he can really be proud of is that he finished his career with one team -- something we don't see a lot of in sports today," Cheryl Miller said in her broadcast Thursday night.
Reggie Miller could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
Miller is widely regarded as a likely inductee into the National Basketball Hall of Fame, and will be eligible five years after his retirement. He is the Pacers' all-time leader in 13 major categories, including scoring, assists and steals, and ranks 14th on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 24,685.
His greatest worldwide fame has come for his clutch shooting and numerous playoff heroics. He is the NBA's all-time leader in 3-point shots made and attempted and one of the most accurate free throw shooters in league history.
He also has been quietly active in community affairs throughout his career. He routinely visits schools and hospitals and meets with a fan before virtually every home game.
He was awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award by the Professional Basketball Writers Association last season, the first Pacer to receive the honor.
Miller gained added respect in recent seasons for gracefully stepping aside to make way for younger, more productive players.
He averaged 10 points per game last season, matching his rookie season production for the lowest of his career. He regained his old form after sitting out the first 16 games this season while recovering from a broken left hand. He averaged 24.6 points in his first 10 games, but his statistics have leveled off as Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson have returned from suspensions and other injured players have returned.
He is averaging 11.9 points heading into tonight's game against Houston at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Miller's announcement comes amid a season of turmoil for the Pacers. A brawl at the end of their game at Detroit on Nov. 19 robbed them of their three leading scorers for long stretches of games, and numerous injuries have taken their toll on the lineup and chemistry.
Carlisle, however, said he doesn't believe Thursday's announcement will be a distraction.
"I view it as an important event," he said. "I think it's something that has been taken very seriously. This is the last opportunity to be with Reggie, who is one of the greatest players. This is also a last opportunity for the fans to see one of the greatest players."
Miller joined the Pacers in 1987 as the 11th pick in the NBA draft. The choice was controversial locally as most fans hoped the franchise would draft Indiana University guard Steve Alford, a native Hoosier who had just led IU to the NCAA championship.
Miller quickly won over fans with his emotional style of play and long-distance shooting, and his popularity has only grown as the years have progressed.
"Reggie said that is has been a great run (and) feels very positive with where the organization and the team is headed," Cheryl Miller said.
Some of Reggie Miller's numeric highlights:
Points, 14th-most in NBA history and most in Pacers history
3-pointers, most in NBA history (He's attempted the most, too -- 6,321.)
Miller's career free throw percentage, tied with Larry Bird for fifth-best in NBA history. (His 6,064 made free throws are the 11th-most in history.)
Games, sixth-most in NBA history (He passed Moses Malone earlier this season.)
His career-high scoring game, against the Charlotte Hornets on Nov. 28, 1992
June 1, 1994
Reggie Miller scores 25 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter as the Pacers beat the Knicks 93-86 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
May 7, 1995
Miller hits two 3-pointers and scores eight points in the final 8.9 seconds as the Pacers rally for a 107-105 victory over the Knicks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
May 10, 1998
Miller forces overtime with a 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left. He finishes with 38 points as the Pacers beat the Knicks 118-107 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
May 25, 1998
With Michael Jordan closing in, Miller elevates and hits a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left to beat the Bulls 96-94 in Game 4, evening the Eastern Conference finals.
June 2, 2000
Miller has 34 points (and a block) as the Pacers close out the Knicks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals and advance to their only NBA Finals.
May 2, 2002
Miller forces overtime with a 40-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer and sends the game into a second overtime with a driving dunk against the Nets in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round series.
As always, Miller times his last shot with finesse
February 11, 2005
One thing about Reggie Miller: He's always had an impeccable sense of timing. He knew the score, knew what the clock read, knew what was required of him as the time wound down to triple zeros.
Now, by finally confirming the news of his not-unexpected retirement, he has done something so few athletes do well: say goodbye at the right time.
Again, nothing but net.
How many of the great ones leave the stage at precisely the right moment?
A few leave too early, or what the rest of us deem to be too early: Jim Brown. Sandy Koufax. Barry Sanders.
Many leave too late, or what the rest of us deem to be too late: Michael Jordan. Steve Carlton. Every boxer this side of Marvin Hagler.
But here is Miller, getting it just right, doing the hardest thing in sports and making it look so easy.
He is leaving not only a legacy of greatness and class, but the memory of an athlete who handled his diminishing role with more integrity and selflessness than anybody else in pro sports.
When the epitaph of Miller's career is written, most of the paragraphs will be dedicated to his unthinkable shot-making, his hoops heroism, the nights he made utterly unforgettable.
Yet, there is something else that impressed many of us, especially those of us who've been around only for the final few years of this career. He wasn't just willing to defer to the younger players; he absolutely insisted upon it. Even when you wished he would be selfish, take a game over like he did in the old days, he kept feeding Jermaine O'Neal, kept feeding Ron Artest, kept doing everything possible to allow this franchise -- his franchise -- to grow.
How many great athletes are willing to step aside?
Consider Jordan, who insisted until the end that he should be the man in Washington, even if that meant slowing the development of the Wizards' younger players.
What Miller did these final years, what he was willing and even eager to do, says everything necessary about a player who not only deserves his number retired, but warrants a Jordan-esque statue outside Conseco Fieldhouse.
If there's any regret, it's that Miller won't get his ring, especially after he chose to stay in Indiana while other aging stars went to Los Angeles and chased their dreams. The biggest regret is that this could have been the season for that title, and then it all went into the toilet that terrible night in Auburn Hills. Whatever final shot Miller might have had, it was lost the moment Artest lost his cool -- again -- and went into the stands.
It does not, however, diminish for one moment what Miller has accomplished as a Pacer. A lot of other great athletes -- Ernie Banks, Charles Barkley, Dan Marino -- retired without a title, and nobody thinks any less of them.
He's leaving right on time.
No, he hasn't been Willie Mays, haplessly circling under a fly ball at Shea Stadium during his final days as a ballplayer. There are still, in fact, nights when Uncle Reggie is the Reggie we saw five and 10 years ago. In the days after he returned from a broken hand earlier this season, Miller seemed reborn and rejuvenated, even looking for the shots he too often passed up in the recent past, and scoring 20 or more points with some regularity.
Since then, he has been largely the same player we've seen the past three or four years. Smart, useful, even great at odd moments, but far short of what he used to be, especially at a position generally populated by far younger men.
This comes as no surprise, of course. We knew Miller was going to retire -- mea culpa, Craig Sager -- and we had every reason to believe he was going to retire after this season. From the day he arrived at training camp this year, Uncle Reggie was dropping hints that were as subtle as a right cross to the jaw.
It's just that now that it's official -- well, sort of official, since he told his sister Cheryl, who reported it on TNT -- it hardly seems real.
Isn't Reggie one of those athletes who seems like he's always been here and always will be here? To think that the face, heart and soul of this franchise will be gone within a couple of months -- maybe after the regular season, maybe after a short playoff run -- seems somehow unfathomable, even if we knew that his exit was inevitable.
So once again, Miller is looking at the final seconds.
It's always been the time when he has done his most inspiring work.
Article from ESPN.
by Marc Stein
Thu, February 10
We will remember his many swishes from behind the line, the killer trash he talked and those magical 8.9 seconds at Madison Square Garden.
That's not all, though.
When Reggie Miller retires after this season, we can all thank him for something else.
The rare and special distinction of retiring with the only team he has ever played for.
Miller spent most of his career as a No. 2 to No. 23 in the pantheon of Eastern Conference shooting guards, but he'll finish his career the way we wish Michael Jordan finished. In the only pro city he has ever known, that is. There were no detours to Washington or home to Los Angeles or anywhere else. If he was going to win a ring, he wanted to win it in Indianapolis.
It hasn't happened yet, and chances are it's not going to happen in Miller's farewell season, given the state of the Pacers since The Malice of Auburn Hills in November. Yet perhaps this confirmation that Miller, who turns 40 in August, is leaving the game at season's end will serve as a rallying point that unites the Pacers. They still don't have the suspended Ron Artest, and it's unlikely that they're going to get Artest back, but there's little doubt the Pacers can play better than they have without him and win a round in the East playoffs.
One last springtime run is the least Reggie deserves after 18 seasons of meritorious service in Indy. He was one of the clutchest franchise players around, and then a willing mentor in recent years to his successors: Jermaine O'Neal and Artest. And only John Stockton, who retired after 19 seasons in Utah, did it longer with one and only one team.
Even a Knicks fan would have to be moved hearing that stat.