Larry Bird, Reggie Miller Reunite on Dan Patrick Show
Pacers fans listening to the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning got a surprise treat.
With regular host Patrick on assignment in Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympics, the nationally syndicated show is having guest hosts for the next couple weeks. Tuesday's host was none other than Pacers legend and regular DP Show guest Reggie Miller. Larry Bird, Miller's coach with the Pacers from 1997-2000 and the current President of Basketball Operations in Indiana, called into the show during the 10:00 hour.
The two old friends reminisced on old times, including Reggie's game-winning 3-pointer against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in Game 4 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals.
Miller also mentioned that, during Bird's tenure as Indiana's head coach, his Pacers teammates would be extra fired up to play against the Celtics, thanks to Bird's legendary career as a player in Boston. Indiana went 10-1 against the Celtics over Bird's three seasons as head coach, including a 5-1 record in Boston.
Bird admitted that he, too, had a little extra motivation to beat his former team.
"The first time we won in Boston was one of the greatest experiences I ever felt," Bird said. "It was like winning a championship."
The highlight of the interview came in a discussion stemming from the day's poll question, which asked which player would win a 3-point shooting contest in their prime: Bird or Miller. As of this writing, Bird holds a narrow lead of 52 percent to 48 percent in voting on the show's website. Miller even surprised his former coach by saying that he cast his vote for Bird and not himself.
The topic allowed Miller to bring up Bird's fabled performances in the 3-point contest during NBA All-Star Weekends. Bird won the first three contests the NBA ever held from 1986-88. Legend has it that before his third victory, Bird showed up in the locker room and asked the other contestants, "Who's coming in second?"
Miller asked Bird if he really did that, and Bird sheepishly confirmed the story.
"Yeah, I did," Bird admitted. "I sort of felt bad."
Bird explained: "I said, 'Ok, now (let's) get down to the nitty gritty: who's coming in second? Because you already now who's going to win this.'
"And I got lucky because I almost got beat in the first round."
The two Indiana legends also spent a good amount of time discussing the current Pacers.
Bird expressed his support for Pacers All-Star Paul George playing for Team USA in Rio, talking glowingly about his own experiences playing for the original "Dream Team" in 1992 in Barcelona.
"Winning the gold (medal) for your country is always the ultimate," Bird said. "And that's what I told Paul."
Bird also talked about the Pacers' new look for the 2016-17 season. Nate McMillan will take over as head coach for the upcoming season and Bird has brought in several veteran players to help bolster Indiana's offensive attack, including Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, and Al Jefferson.
"We want a style where we can score," Bird said. "I'd like to score 105 points a game or maybe 106, but still defend the way we have.
"Nate's got over 900 games that he's coached in the NBA and he's got a style...I think he’s going to do an excellent job for us."
You can watch a view select highlights from the interview in the embedded videos below. You can also listen to the full interview on danpatrick.com.