Reggie Gets His Say
Posted Aug 18 2005 9:19PM
Pacers legendary sharp shooter to shoot from the lip on TNT
Aug. 18, 2005 – When Reggie Miller lashed back at TNT’s Craig Sager this spring over questions about his possibile retirement, it was because if anybody would get the scoop on his next move it would be Cheryl Miller: His sister. Family.
Miller joins his new TNT family, three months removed from an 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers, in a unique situation never before done at the network. Miller will have the opportunity to be a guest in the studio with Charles Barkley, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Ernie Johnson and Magic Johnson, but will also share time as a basketball analyst with the likes of Marv Albert and Kevin Harlan, among others.
“We haven’t had anybody that has crossed back and forth like that,” Levy said. “Certainly we’ve had some people in the studio as guests, but truly he’s been hired to do both.”
And for this unique chance, Miller is grateful.
“To have the chance to work with Kevin Harlan or Marv Albert, Doug Collins, Steve (Kerr), like I said, this is a no-brainer. I had other people (express interest) – ABC, ESPN – but this is more of a family-style atmosphere. You get to shoot from the hip and I’m so excited that Turner has given me the opportunity to work with all these people.”
Among those Miller will work alongside is his sister Cheryl, who has roamed the sidelines for TNT the last 10 years.
The last time their parents saw the two together on camera was Miller’s final game, when Cheryl scored an interview with her teary-eyed little brother as he said his goodbyes to Pacers fans and the game of basketball.
So, now that Reggie’s a rookie again, will he turn to his more experienced sibling for tricks of the trade on the sidelines?
“Not necessarily tips, but Cheryl is so knowledgeable of the NBA game and she has everyone’s respect – player wise. Being on the opposite side, I know how ruthless she can be to get an interview, which is great, but on the other hand (she) comes off smelling like a rose.”
And as a newcomer to the studio, Miller will likely have to defer to his on-air mates.
“I’m not trying to come in and do anything different from Magic or Charles or Kenny or Ernie,” Miller said. “They’re established. I’m just trying to come in and add a little insight.”
Miller continued: “I know I’m going to have to go get donuts – well probably a lot of donuts for Charles. But, you know, I’m a rook. After 18 years, when you’ve been a seasoned veteran and to go back down to the bottom of the totem pole, it’s all good.”
“He had done some work with the WNBA,” Levy said in summing up Miller’s qualifications, which includes a stint calling games on the Lifetime network. “He’s done terrific interviews over the years. He’s got a great personality (and) a knowledge of the game. He’s an All-Star himself and his work ethic, as I said before, is really unparalleled. It was an easy opportunity for us.”
Almost as easy as Miller’s transition to on-air work may be.
“I will tell you,” Levy said to Miller Thursday on the phone, “that Ernie will welcome you with open arms. He controls that desk better than anybody I know and so, yes, you’ll be a rookie but he’ll fit you in very nicely.”
Not so nice may be the fans in cities who vividly remember Miller crushing their team’s playoff hopes with another long bomb – or two or three.
“I know, I’ve been thinking about that,” Miller said playfully, “It’s funny because – especially in a playoff atmosphere, when the crowd is riled up and they’re into the game – when I’m warming up, I can see Marv or Steve or Doug and they’re preparing and all that and the crowd is yelling at them. It’s going to be interesting because there are a lot of places – Detroit, New York, Miami, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, just to name a few – that I’m sure there’s wanted posters of me still lurking around their buildings.”
Will Miller come out with the same grace under pressure he so brilliantly displayed during his days on the hardwood?
“I love being in the fire,” said the NBA's all-time leader in three-point field goals attempted and made, “so it’s all good.”
There’s that confidence and attitude which served Miller well for so many years, and should serve him equally well in his new line of work.
“I was a brash player and I spoke my mind on the court,” he admitted. “Obviously, there are certain things you can and can’t say (on TV), but this gives me a chance to still be involved with the game that has meant so much to me, that’s made a great living for myself. I get to interject and I get to see the games from a different aspect.”
After witnessing Miller’s on court persona, it’s plausible to think he’ll have plenty to say when the on-air sign lights up.
“Now I won’t get fined for saying some of the things I’ve always wanted to say,” Miller remarked.
Barkley’s antics alone can certainly cause anxious moments for TNT producers. Is there any trepidation with Miller in the mix?
“I’m already nervous,” Levy said jokingly … we think.