NBA 75 Series: #60 Reggie Miller
Ranked #60 in my 75 Greatest NBA Players of All Time https://www.djssportsshow.com/post/nba-75-greatest-players-of-all-time is Reggie Miller, “The Knick Killer.” I mean, the picture says it all, am I right? Miller was born on August 24, 1965, in Riverside, California to his parents Carrie and Saul Miller. He grew up in an athletic family that included his brother, Darell Miller, who played five seasons as a catcher with the Los Angeles Angels of the MLB, his sister, Tammy, played volleyball at Cal State Fullerton and his second sister, Cheryl Miller, is considered by many the greatest women's basketball player of all time.
His sister Cheryl once scored 105 points in one game! Growing up, Reggie used to always lose to her in one-on-one, but she did make him the player he would ultimately become. Being born with hip deformities made it harder for Miller to walk correctly. But, after wearing braces for his legs for a few years on both legs, his leg strength would continue to grow.
While at Riverside Polytechnic High School in California, Miller would make a name for himself and would go on to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he received his degree in history. In Miller’s four seasons at UCLA he would amass 2,095 career points, which ranks second in the school’s history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, helped lead the Bruins to a NIT championship his freshman year, made All-Pac-10 back-to-back years, and lead the Bruins to the first ever Pacific 10 championship.
Miller even once scored 33 points in one half, which is still the school record. After a fantastic college career, Miller would go on to get drafted 11th overall to the Indiana Pacers by Pacers president Donnie Walsh, who was booed by the fans for selecting Miller at the time. Miller would have to earn his spot coming into the league, backing up shooting guard John Long before he eventually became the starter for the next decade plus.
Ultimately, Miller was the ultimate assassin from downtown. Before Steph, before Ray, it was Miller who was the preeminent star who came off screens and tired his opponents all game long by constantly moving without the ball. He was a high-volume, voltage scorer who was ahead of his time and definitely would be even better today in the three point era. He retired with the most threes made (2,560), but has since been surpassed by Ray Allen and Stephen Curry.
Despite that, his legend still looms large, being third on the all-time career threes made list and lead the NBA in free throw percentage five times. In 1993-94 he shot 50-40-90 from the field and foul line, helping him join the 50-40-90 club, a feat accomplished by only eight other players in history.
In what became an epic scoring rampage, Miller had eight points in nine seconds for the Indiana Pacers late in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Knicks. In the 1994 playoffs, he scored 25 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Knicks, and became an instant enemy of Madison Square Garden and court-side heckler Spike Lee.
Miller set the Pacers’ single-game scoring record with 57 back in 1992 against the Charlotte Hornets, and led the Pacers to their one and only Finals appearance in 2000, where they fell in six games to the dominant one-two punch of the Shaq and Kobe-led Lakers, despite averaging 24.3 PPG in that series.
He is a five-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA selection, a member of the 50-40-90 club, and 75th anniversary team. Miller also has his No.31 retired by the Pacers and is one of the clutch, most feared killers in NBA history.