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For the Love of the Game or Just Chasing a Ring?

August 17, 2007 | By James Morris | comment on this post
Some would like to remember Reggie Miller is his prime.
James wonders whether Reggie Miller might be considering coming out of retirement for the wrong reasons.

Reggie Miller always held himself up as someone that didn’t chase the ring. He put his loyalty in front of his desire to win a NBA title. Any true Pacers fan has to be wondering why Miller would risk being viewed as a Karl Malone with the Lakers or Willie Mays with the Mets. Is winning a ring so important that you would not even look at the team you played your entire career with if and when you decide you want to play again? It sure looks that way.

Miller talked with a local Indiana radio show Wednesday and said he is trying to “shock” his body back into shape. However, he won’t know if he will return to the NBA until mid-September. “I have no idea what I’m going to do. I’m working out twice a day. It would be irresponsible of me not to go full bore now to see what I can do. I’ll make a decision soon. By the middle of September I should have an answer…This team won the lottery when they got Kevin Garnett.” Miller is not just talking here, in my opinion. I think he really wants that ring and probably will sign with the Celtics in an attempt to get it.

If Miller does in fact sign on with the Celtics this season he will be nothing more than a gimmick while on the floor. He will be looked at to spot up and shoot, but nothing else. His fantasy value will be in his name alone, as I am sure someone will jump up and grab him in the draft even though his numbers will relegate him to waiver wire fodder. You need not be that GM as you can just ignore Miller and get guys that will see minutes that matter.

Miller spent a total of 15 seasons with the Indiana Pacers before retiring in 2004. He was a member of the original Dream Team and he is ranked 14th on the NBA’s all-time career scoring list with 24,305 points. Miller is seventh on the NBA’s all-time list for games played (1,323 games), played more games with the same team than all but two players in NBA history (John Stockton and Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz), went over 100 3-point field goals for 15 consecutive seasons, a NBA record, and is the all-time NBA leader in 3-pointers with 2,464. Miller is also a five-time All-Star (1990, ’95, ’96, ’98 and 2000), was named to the All-NBA Third Team in 1997-98 for the third time, following 1994-95 and 1995-96, and became the first Pacer ever to start in an NBA All-Star Game in 1995.

As a Pacers’ fan, it truly hurts me to see a player of Miller’s calibre come out of retirement to ride the coattails of others’ success in order to win a ring. To me, if the Celtics do win a title with Miller on the roster this season and he doesn’t play a role worthy of being at least the seventh man off the bench, the ring will always have an asterisk beside it when I talk about it. Yes, he won the title, but he didn’t win it. Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce won the title; Miller just signed with the team he thought had the best chance to win a ring. Loyalty is loyalty, Reggie; title chasing is title chasing. Stay away and keep the legacy alive for Pacers’ fans around the world. Don’t be Willie Mays wandering around lost in the Mets’ outfield.

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