Miller makes Hall, and, ‘Yeah, I pushed off’
By Mike Wells, The Indianapolis Star
There was no trash talking. No choke signs. No hands raised to signal a made three-pointer by Reggie Miller.
What Miller, the owner of countless Indiana Pacers records, provided was a side of himself that not many people saw — or heard — during his 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers.
Miller was the brightest star in a 12-member group inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday. And in fitting fashion, Miller closed out the ceremony as the final speaker, the same way he finished off opponents such as the New York Knicks in his career.
“This is awesome,” Miller said. “I don’t take moments like this for granted. I’m so honored to be part of this great evening with all these great players. It’s special for me because I’m going in with two men I grew up admiring so much, Jamaal (Wilkes) and — I call him my uncle — uncle Mel Daniels.”
Wilkes, a forward who starred for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970s, and Miller were joined by Don Barksdale, an African American basketball pioneer in the 1940s to complete a trio of UCLA products enshrined.
Pacers fans had been waiting years for this, as Daniels and Miller were the franchise’s first inductees. Many said Daniels, a legend from the team’s ABA days, should have been elected to the Hall of Fame years ago. Miller missed the cut in 2011, his first year of eligibility.
Also honored on Friday night were Don Nelson, the winningest coach in NBA history; three-time NCAA player of the year Ralph Sampson; Nike co-founder Phil Knight; the All-American Redheads, known as the female Harlem Globetrotters; seven-time NBA All-Star Chet Walker; two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain; former Soviet women’s coach Lidia Alexeeva; and longtime NCAA referee Hank Nichols.
Former Pacers president and coach Larry Bird, current team President Donnie Walsh, former coach and current radio analyst Bobby “Slick” Leonard, fans and a number of former players were in attendance to support Daniels and Miller.
There were the infamous chants heard at Market Square Arena and the former Conseco Fieldhouse of “Reggie! Reggie!” from the Pacers … [For more on Miller makes Hall, and, 'Yeah, I pushed off', click here.]