Miller, Reggie 1965–
Reggie Miller 1965–
Professional basketball player
Reggie Miller is a talented man who comes from a very talented family in Riverside, California. One of five siblings, Miller is the second of two Millers to win an Olympic gold medal; the first was his older sister Cheryl, who earned her gold medal while playing for the United States women’s basketball team during the 1984 Summer Olympics. Reggie won his medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics as a member of Dream Team III, the United States men’s basketball team. His older brother, Darrell, was an outfielder for Major League Baseball’s California Angels. Miller’s other sister, Laura, played varsity volleyball at California State-Fullerton.
A 13-year National Basketball Association veteran, all with the Indiana Pacers, Miller is considered one of the league’s most feared three-point shooters. On March 18,2001, he hit his 2,000th three-point shot against the Sacramento Kings. In the same game, he also surpassed the 21,000-point plateau. Through the 2000-2001 NBA season, Miller averaged 19.5 points per game and scored 21, 319 points.
As a youngster, Miller was plagued by a hip deformity that caused severely splayed feet, according to Indystar.com. For the first four years of his life he wore leg braces to correct the birth defect and doctors wondered if he would ever walk unassisted. But he persevered, and by the time he was five, Miller was walking normally. Despite the struggle that could prove inspirational for many people, he rarely discussed this portion of his life. Growing up in an athletic family had its advantages for Miller, who worked diligently to beat them in pickup games in the driveway.
Miller played exceptionally well during high school but always stood in the shadows of his other talented siblings. His sister, Cheryl, is considered one of the greatest women’s basketball players in the history of the game, while older brother, Darrell was an outstanding catcher and outfielder prospect. Miller was out to make his own name, as he starred at Riverside Poly-technical High School from 1979 to 1983. His abilities caught the attention of nearby UCLA, which wanted to recruit the slender, silky shooter. By the time he finished his college career, Miller had amassed 2, 095 career points, ranking second in the school’s history behind only the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Averaging more than 20 points per game during his senior season at UCLA, Miller was regarded as the
Born Reginald Wayne Miller on August 21, 1965, in Riverside, CA; son of Saul and Carrie Miller; married Marita Stavrou. Education: Attended UCLA, 1983-87.
Career: Indiana Pacers, guard, 1987-; TV host, Indianapolis; co-author, I Love Being the Enemy: A Season On The Court With The NBA’s Best Shooter and Sharpest Tongue, 1995.
Awards: NBA All-Star, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998; All-NBA Third Team, 1995, 1996; won world championship gold medal, 1994; won Olympic gold medal, 1996; became the first Pacer to start in an NBA All-Star game, 1995; first player in NBA history to hit 100 three-pointers in eight consecutive seasons, 1989-97; first player in Pacers’ history to top 15,000 career points; has 2, 307 career treys going into the 2001-2002 season.
Addresses: Indiana Pacers, 300 E. Market St, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
purest shooter in the game. With shooting guard John Long aging, Miller was the logical choice for the Indiana Pacers, who chose him in the NBA Draft. But the home folks preferred Steve Alford, a local boy who played his college basketball at Indiana University. With the 11th overall pick, Pacers coach Jack Ramsay nabbed Miller and not Alford, who was taken by the Dallas Mavericks, much to the chagrin of the fans.
Although he was the Pacers’ career leading scorer, Miller didn’t get much notoriety until the team made a playoff run in 1994. With each team that the Pacers played, Miller’s reputation grew. Even in a seven-game series loss to the Knicks, Miller’s performance was most memorable: he scored 25 points in one quarter. On June 1, 1994, Miller hit five three-point shots against the Knicks to set a NBA playoff record. He also flashed the “choke” sign to film director Spike Lee, who was sitting courtside at Madison Square Garden. The incident has established Miller as one of the league’s most notorious “trash-talkers.” Another playoff run ended in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals, this time the Pacers lost to the Orlando Magic.
Miller’s “newfound” fame garnered him a spot on Dream Team II, the U.S. men’s basketball team playing for gold at the World Basketball Championship. He joined fellow NBA stars, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Shawn Kemp and Larry Johnson as they won the gold. Miller averaged 20 points per game and hit sixty percent of his three-point shots. He was also a member of Dream Team III, which included Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway, and David Robinson as they took home the gold in the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Off the court, Miller hosted a weekly TV show aimed at teenagers in Indianapolis. His topics ranged from homelessness to teen pregnancy. He has been heavily involved in the community. Miller explained to the Gary Post-Tribune, “People may think I’m a jerk, but that’s just on the court. Off the court, I want to help.” Miller also suffered a loss, when his home burned down. It was ruled arson, and the case remains unsolved. He has written his autobiography, I Love Being the Enemy: A Season On The Court With The NBA’s Best Shooter and Sharpest Tongue.
Pacers’ coach Larry Brown resigned after the 1996-1997 season and was replaced by legendary Boston Celtic and Indiana State star Larry Bird. That spring, the Pacers pushed the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, to the brink, but lost again in seven games. In the 1998-1999 season, the Knicks eliminated the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals for a fourth time, this time. For the 10th year in a row, Miller was the Pacers’ leading scorer, but still hadn’t reached the NBA Finals.
The 1999-2000 season proved to be Miller’s most memorable. He helped the Pacers advance to their first NBA Finals appearance against the Los Angeles Lakers. Miller had worked well with Jalen Rose, but the Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant proved too much for the neophyte Pacers. In August of 2000, Miller signed a new three-year contract for $36 million and there was more change: Bird resigned and Pacers president Donnie Walsh hired new coach Isiah Thomas, another basketball legend with Indiana ties. In Thomas’ first season, the Pacers fought the eventual Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers hard but lost in the first round. Still, Miller has remained upbeat about playing for Thomas and just playing altogether.
“I still get nervous before games,” Miller told Yahoo Sports. “Looking down at the opposing two-guard, I still get excited for the rivalry no matter which it is. I always think I’m going to have my hands full, and I want to make sure they have their hands full.” Through the years, Miller has established himself as one of the NBA’s best players. According to the New York Daily News, ”Reggie Miller’s talent is more than his shot, even more than his mouth.… Miller posesses in abundance that quality sportwriters crave more than any other: charisma.”
Newsmakers 1994,Issue 4, Gale Research, 1994.
Who’s Who Among African Americans, 14th Edition, Gale Group, 2001.
Gary Post-Tribune, March 31, 1991.
Indianapolis Star, May 15, 1997.
New York Daily News, May 10, 1994; May 27, 1994; May 30, 1994; June 6, 1994.
www.espn.com, May 5, 2001
Learning Network, www.infoplease.com/ipsa/A0109140.html
Reggie Miller.com, through Athlete’s
Yahoo Sports Canada, November 3, 2001, www.yahoo.com
American basketball player
In the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA), there's never been a three-point shooter like Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller, undoubtedly the most persistent and productive three-point prodigy of all time. Miller was the first NBA player to sink 2,200 three-pointers and also holds the NBA record for most consecutive seasons with at least 100 three-pointers (13 and counting). What Miller is most remembered for, however, is his long list of post-season heroics. By the end of the 2001-2002 season, the five-time NBA All-Star had competed in 109 playoff games, averaging 23.5 points per game. Once, Miller scored twenty-five points in a single playoff quarter; another time, he scored eight points in the final 8.9 seconds of a playoff game for a victory. For all his effort, Miller has yet to win an NBA championship. To this end, Miller spends his free time coaching the team's younger players, hoping to mold the Pacers into a championship franchise.
Perfected Basketball Skills to Beat Sister
Reginald Wayne Miller was born with a hip defect on August 24, 1965, in Riverside, California, to Carrie and Saul Miller. "I came out with my legs and hips all contorted and twisted, like somebody had tried to tie me in a knot," Miller recalled in his book, I Love Being the Enemy. "The doctors said I might not ever walk."
To correct the problem, Miller endured leg braces his first four years and used a wheelchair or crutches to get around. The fourth of five children, Miller spent his days stranded indoors with his mom, yearning to get outside and play with his sports-minded siblings. Throughout the ordeal, his mother, a nurse, offered encouragement.
When the braces came off, Miller made quick use of his legs and began hanging out with his sister Cheryl. Their father, a computer systems analyst and former collegiate basketball star, taught them the game. Miller, however, couldn't compete against his taller, more-practiced sister. Whenever he drove to the basket for a layup, she'd reach up behind him and thwart his shot.
Miller's ambition in life became to beat his sister, and he began taking 500 to 700 shots a day. He stepped onto the family's backyard court and shot relentlessly until he mastered a ten-foot shot. Next, he drilled himself on twelve-footers. In time, Miller stood back in his mother's rose bushes, dropping in twenty-plus footers. Then, his sister's height didn't matter. Instead of dribbling toward the basket, Miller retreated and nailed one of his far-flung jumpers. In this way, Miller developed his signature long-range jump shot, which he later made famous in the NBA.
Miller's favorite sport, however, was baseball, which he played his freshman year at Riverside Polytechnic High School. He wanted to be a star like his older brother, Darrell, who was on his way to becoming a catcher for the California Angels. Miller spent several long, lonely afternoons in the outfield, then decided he should try a more action-packed sport like basketball. The game suited him well, and he led Polytechnic to the state high school championship in both his junior and senior years.
Drafted by Indiana Pacers
In 1983, Miller joined the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) basketball team. His sophomore year, he led the Bruins to the 1985 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championship and was named tournament MVP for nailing nearly 60 percent of his shots.
His junior year, Miller averaged 25.9 points per game, fourth-highest in the nation. His senior year, Miller led UCLA to the Pac-10 Conference title. When he graduated in 1987, he was the school's second-leading all-time scorer (2,095 points) behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar .
Miller was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the 1987 NBA draft. During his first year in the pros, Miller dropped in sixty-one three-pointers, breaking Larry Bird 's rookie record. By 1989-90, his third season, Miller averaged 24.6 points per game, becoming the Pacers' leading scorer. He also made his first All-Star game appearance. In 1992-93, Miller led the NBA in three-pointers (167) and also scored a career-high fifty-seven points in one game.
Known for 'Trash-Talking' on Court
Besides shooting baskets, Miller is known for shooting off his mouth. Miller spends his games chattering at his opponents, hoping to get inside their heads and distract them from the game. Miller's on-court antics, such as making a "choke" sign around his neck when the other team can't perform, regularly make the sports highlights.
Pacers president Donnie Walsh understands that the talking helps Miller, scrawny by NBA standards, compete in the league. As Walsh noted in a Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service article, "You see him on the court and he has to be like that with his body type (6 feet 7 inches and about 180 pounds) or he'd be the biggest target who ever came into the NBA. He can't fight back physically. It's his way of dealing with the situation, psyching himself. If he did not have that attitude, he wouldn't survive."
In his adopted hometown of Indianapolis, Miller's presence is felt outside the basketball arena. He visits local schools to promote reading and started the Reggie Miller Foundation, which raises money for fire victims and for a burn unit at the local children's hospital. Miller became interested in the charity after his house burned down in 1997. Following the 9/11 tragedy, Miller pledged $1,000 for every three-pointer he made, from preseason to postseason, to a New York City fire company that lost eight men in the World Trade Center tragedy. He raised $206,000.
|1965||Born on August 24 to Saul and Carrie Miller|
|1983||Graduates from Riverside Polytechnic High School|
|1983||Enters UCLA (University of California-Los Angeles)|
|1987||Taken by Indiana Pacers as 11th draft pick|
|1992||Marries Marita Lynn Stavrou on August 29, 1992|
|1995||Makes cameo appearance alongside Billy Crystal in Forget Paris|
|1998||Makes cameo appearance in Spike Lee's He Got Game|
|2001-02||Donates $1,000 for every three-pointer made to a September 11th relief fund, raising $206,000|
Awards and Accomplishments
|1984-85||Led UCLA to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championship; named tournament MVP|
|1985-86||Averaged 25.9 points per game, fourth among college players nationwide|
|1986-87||Ended college career with 2,095 points while leading UCLA to the Pac-10 conference title|
|1987||Chosen by the Indiana Pacers as the 11th pick in the NBA draft|
|1987-88||Dropped in 61 three-pointers, an NBA rookie season record; named to NBA All-Rookie second team|
|1990||Named to NBA All-Star team|
|1990-91||Led NBA in free throws made (551)|
|1992-93||Scored 57 points in one game; led NBA with 167 three-pointers|
|1993-94||Scored his 10,000th career point to become the Pacers' leading scorer of all time; set NBA playoff record with five three-pointers in one quarter|
|1993-94||Named co-captain of the United States' Dream Team II; won gold medal with the U.S. team at the 1994 World Basketball Championships|
|1994||Set NBA playoff record for most three-pointers in one quarter (5)|
|1995||Named to the NBA All-Star team|
|1996||Starred on U.S. Olympic basketball team during Olympics in Atlanta; earned a gold medal|
|1996-97||Led NBA in three-pointers (229)|
|1998||Inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame and named to NBA All-Star team|
|1998-99||Led NBA in free-throw percentage (.915) and free throws made (226)|
|2000||Named to NBA All-Star team|
|2000-01||Led NBA in free throws made (323)|
|2001-02||Led NBA in free-throw percentage (.911) and free throws made (296)|
|2002||Won NBA Community Assist Award for charity fund-raising|
|2002||Named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year|
Will be Remembered as Consistent Shooter
While Miller isn't the most polished player in the NBA, he's certainly one of the toughest and most consistent shooters. During the eleven seasons between 1989-1990 and 1999-2000, Miller averaged between 18.1 points and 24.6 points per game.
Because Miller has consistently put up points throughout his career, he entered the 2002-2003 season tied for 17th place for most career points (22,623) in the NBA. At the start of the season, Miller was sweating it out with players a decade younger, yet he continued to make a difference and electrify fans with his outside shooting. The confident veteran has clearly become one of the game's most well-liked figures—his jersey, after all, sells in the top 10. A player can't get much more popular than that.
Address: c/o Indiana Pacers, 125 S. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, IN 46204. Fax: (317) 917-2599. Phone:(317) 917-2500. Email: [email protected] On-line: http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/fan_mail.html.
|IND: Indiana Pacers.|
SELECTED WRITINGS BY MILLER:
(With Gene Wojciechowski) I Love Being the Enemy: A Season on the Court with the NBA's Best Shooter and Sharpest Tongue, Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Cox, Ted. Reggie Miller: Basketball Sharpshooter: A Season on the Court with the NBA's Best Shooter and Sharpest Tongue, Chicago: Children's Press, 1995.
Miller, Reggie, with Gene Wojciechowski. I Love Being the Enemy: A Season on the Court with the NBA's Best Shooter and Sharpest Tongue. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Rappoport, Ken. Guts and Glory: Making it in the NBA. New York: Walker and Company, 1997.
Horrow, Ellen J. "Sports Was Game to Give." USA Today (September 10, 2002).
"Reggie Miller's Place in NBA History." Indianapolis Star (October 27, 2002).
Smith, Sam. "Taking a Fresh Look at Reggie Miller." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (January 21, 2002).
"Reggie Miller." USA Basketball. http://www.usabasketball.com/biosmen/reggie_miller_bio.html (January 3, 2003).
"Reggie Miller Bio." NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/playerfile/reggie_miller/bio.html (December 20, 2002).
"Reggie Miller Player Info." NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/playerfile/reggie_miller/ (January 1, 2003).
"Reggie Miller Printable Stats." NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/playerfile/reggie_miller/printable_player_files.html (December 20, 2002).
Sketch by Lisa Frick