Reggie’s Birthday Wish: No More Comeback Calls
Aug. 24, 2007
Reggie Miller's birthday is not a national, state or local holiday.
Not yet, anyway.
But for those who didn't want to see him risk tarnishing his Indiana legacy in pursuit of an uncertain chance for a championship ring, it is a day to be remembered – if not for celebration, then at least some relief.
Miller, who turns 42 today, told The Indianapolis Star he not only has decided against a comeback attempt with the Boston Celtics, he doesn't want to consider it "ever, ever again."
"If anybody is ever interested in me playing again," Miller told The Star, "please don't call.''
Miller has been working out regularly the past few weeks at Pepperdine University near his Malibu, Calif., home to test his physical conditioning. His frequent workout partner has been Kevin Garnett, the new face of the Celtics. Though Miller was encouraged by his body's response, his mind was another matter.
"Physically, I know I could have done it," he told The Star. "But mentally, when you do something like this, you've either got to be all in or all out. And I've decided I'm all out."
Miller took a short break from his workout routine to return to Indianapolis to attend Peyton Manning's annual charity bowling tournament but it isn't clear if the trip back to his only NBA home of 18 seasons had an impact on his final decision.
"A part of me, a big part of me, knew I could do it," Miller told The Star. "It's been very, very tough. But now I have to live with it."
If Jermaine O'Neal was uncertain about his desire to remain with the Pacers, it's possible encouragement came from an unlikely source. Boston's Paul Pierce, who has become a good friend, recently had a long talk with O'Neal and related how he handled his recent frustration in Boston.
"Jermaine is just like me," Pierce told The Boston Globe. "He wants to be involved with a winner. He's not getting any younger, either, and his miles are piling up. That's rough. I didn't tell him he should go somewhere else, none of that, because he's going to make his own decisions in the end.
"People have got to understand for a ballplayer that's been playing so many years, made a lot of money, it's about winning a championship after so many years. That's the way Jermaine feels. He's felt the same way I've felt for the last couple years. He wants to be on a team that can win a championship.
"I feel for guys like him that are not getting the guys around them so they can at least have a shot at winning championships. He knows what that feels like. He's had a taste of being in the Eastern Conference finals. He knows what it tastes like to be that close, as do I."
Pierce blossomed into a superstar and the Celtics overachieved while Jim O'Brien was Boston's coach, so it's possible he had some private words of reassurance in that department, as well.