I know that all three of you all follow the NBA . And so, while it pains me as a lifelong Knicks fan to ask, don't you think Reggie Miller deserves a little blog love for all that he accomplished in his now-complete career?
Good point. There are a number of things about Reggie Miller that deserve remarking.
(1) He was certainly the best clutch shooter in the modern game (post-1980) not named Bird or Jordan.
(2) He will probably be the last great player to spend an 18-year career with the same team.
(3) He is the only great player of recent vintage who has been able to stay with the same team and completely (and successfully) remake his role, going from star to supporting castmember. This speaks not only to his talent and determination, but to his very fine character.
(4) He is one of a handful of great players to retire from the game without a ring. I would argue that of the modern players, he is the second or third best (after Barkley and Ewing) to be denied the ultimate victory.
(5) How good was Reggie? I would pose this question to N.T. and other readers: If you were assembling a team to play one game, upon which your life depended, who would your starting five be?
I would argue for Isaiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, and Bill Russell. But if Jordan was unavailable to suit up, I might put Reggie at the two-guard. And no matter what, he'd probably be my sixth man.
(Those of you taking Joe Dumars aren't wrong.)
(6) It wouldn't surprise me at all if Reggie became a very successful NBA coach. He has all of the tools and temperament and leadership skills, too.
Farewell, Reggie. Thanks for playing the game the right way.
Update, 5/22/05, 11:34 a.m.: Many commenters and emailers are extolling the virtues of John Stockton and Karl Malone. I simply can't let this slide.
Stockton and Malone are the most over-rated players of my day. Stockton himself was a very good point guard. Nothing more. If you were picking an All-World team he wouldn’t even get on the bench. At no point in his career was he ever the best (or second- or third-best) player at his position. And let’s not forget that he was one of the dirtiest players you’ll ever see. If you ever watch an old game, pay close attention to Stockton on the defensive end of the court. He holds, pulls, hooks, and pushes constantly. He was almost never without a hand full of jersey. Yet he got away with it because he was short, white guy with a baby face. Don’t be fooled by his Gonzaga creds: John Stockton made Danny Ainge look like the picture of sportsmanship.
And what can you say about Karl Malone? He put up a lot of points because he was the only scoring option for his franchise for almost two decades. He was terrible in the clutch and couldn’t even win a championship when he sold his soul to the Lakers. I know that I wouldn’t even want him sitting on the bench in a game for which my life was on the line. If you’re interested in go-nowhere forwards who put up gaudy numbers, you’d be better off with Dominique Wilkins.
Here’s everything you need to know about Karl Malone: In December 2000, on the night he passed Wilt Chamberlain and became the NBA’s second all-time leading scorer, the team stopped the game in the second quarter to throw a miniature celebration in his honor. With under two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, with the Jazz blowing out the visiting Toronto Raptors, Malone was ejected for berating an official over an (obviously correct) call.