Finally. One year too long, Reg.
Reggie Miller, a UCLA Bruin from 1983 to 1987, is going to be inducted as a Hall of Famer for the Class of 2012, after not even being on the ballot in 2011 thanks to some egregious and ignorant errors.
Miller, as you’re probably aware, was an icon in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers. Dude stuck around Indiana for 18 years, a hell of a feat considering there were countless times where it looked like Indiana wasn’t a contender for that elusive NBA championship trophy, one which Reggie Miller does not have.
Miller is regarded as one of the greatest outside shooters and scorers of all time, and his highlights aren’t like that of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or, hell, Nate Robinson:
Those are a bunch of ridiculous outside J’s, you guys.
In his time at UCLA, Miller managed to compile the second most points in school history behind Lew Alcindor (more famously known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). Though Reggie’s squads topped out as second-round exits from the NCAA Tournament, UCLA did manage to win an NIT championship, and though those aren’t anything to be proud of, we’re sure Reggie is glad he won some sort of championship. (Kidding. We love you, Reg.)
What’s been my personal experience with Reggie Miller? Enough to deem him one of the more entertaining players of the past generation.
The earliest basketball game I can remember is the San Antonio Spurs’ sweep of my Los Angeles Lakers back in the Forum in 1999. Since then, Reggie Miller has been on my radar, even if he had been on the downside of his career at that point.
Of course, my Lakers had to steamroll Reggie’s Pacers back in 2000, but my father had told me that, if L.A. did not contain Reggie Miller, it would be impossible for our team to win a title. Miller spurned us early on in the series, though my father and I celebrated our Lakers’ title shortly thereafter.
Since, a “Free Reggie” movement within our household began. (This included my mother, who apparently only liked watching ball in the 80s and 90s, when they were playing “real basketball,” as she’d like to call it.) Though the Pacers had their stints, we never really considered them contenders for anything more than a deep playoff run with Jermaine O’Neal and Ron Artest set to take the reigns from Reggie in Indiana.
Then, of course, I pieced everything together when I watched ESPN’s 30-for-30 piece, “Winning Time: Reggie vs. The Knicks.” Understanding that Reggie was a cultural icon in the 1990s took a while, but c’mon, I’m only two decades old. Give me a break.
Either way, Reggie’s a Hall of Famer, adding to our growing list of Bruins in the NBA who became Hall of Famers, as our boy Reg joins the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and John Wooden as the seventh former Bruin to be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame.
Oh, and we almost forgot: Jamaal Wilkes, yet another UCLA legend, after decades, finally became a Hall of Famer in the same class as Reggie.
Make that eight Bruin Basketball Hall of Famers.