When a team puts up 25 points in a quarter, they grab their Gatorade and feel good about themselves after a productive 12 minutes of scoring the basketball. When a player puts up 25 points in a quarter, they grab their necks and taunt the obnoxious fan sitting court side, who tirelessly flapped his gums for 36 minutes.
At least that’s how Reggie Miller decided to perpetuate his 25 point fourth period at Madison Square Garden, versus Spike Lee and the Knicks in the summer of ’94. Nevertheless, shoutouts to one of the greatest sports fans ever, a man willing to “talk his sh*t” even if it meant being sarcastically thanked the next day on the headline of The New York Daily News ["Thanks A Lot Spike"] for instigating one of the most epic “he plays better when he’s mad” moments in all of sports.
But don’t fret Knicks nation, or Spike, we may have lost that battle — and gained a few grey hairs — but we won the war. The Knicks ended up battling back from down 3-2, facing elimination in Indianapolis, to win the series and advance to the 1994 Finals versus the Rockets. It’s safe to say Mr. Lee kept his mouth shut every time Olajuwon passed him on the hardwood, thanks a lot Spike.
Regardless, almost 20 years have passed since that season and for whatever reason, Knicks fans can’t seem to shake the image of Reggie Miller’s face while doing that choke gesture (after 8 points in 8.9 seconds). The sad truth is, no matter how many times the Knicks beat the Pacers (a la LJ’s 4-point play in ’99), Reggie Miller still haunts that organization like a ghost.
The ghost of Reggie Miller. There’s an interesting concept. I mean, when you violate a home court (and fan base) as badly as Reggie did that Game 5, you don’t just forget it the next season. In fact, the next season (in the 1995 Playoffs), the Pacers advanced past the Knicks in bizarre fashion, as Patrick Ewing missed a game (and series) clinching layup, which he usually makes in his sleep, in the waning seconds. I guess you could say Pat choked. Eek.
The Knicks and the Pacers rekindled the rivalry this current Playoffs and guess what — the Pacers upset the #2 seeded Knicks club in 6 games. But wait, there’s more. Guess who returned to the Garden (in the heat of the playoffs), to broadcast this matchup? Yup, you got it…Reggie Miller. The Knicks just can’t avoid him. He’s like a fly you spend all day trying to swat and even when you think you finally swatted it (or got it to fly out of the window at the least), it’s only matter of minutes before it returns.
Truthfully, TNT is buggin’ out. For starters, Reggie Miller is the epitome of obnoxious. His constant Pacer-biased banter has almost led me to plug in my iPod on many occasions. Secondly, does TNT not realize he has a lisp? I don’t get it. There’s a reason why his parents urged him to play basketball as a kid and not perform slam poetry. Give me Steve Kerr. Please.
Finally, it’s absurd that TNT chose to habitually go with Reggie Miller in a series containing the Pacers and the Knicks. TNT is a nationally televised broadcast. He’s not delivering his commentary to a small, private, sports bar in Indiana. Knick fans actually have to listen to him. This concept could only be rivaled by having the actual ghost of George Herman “Babe” Ruth resurrected and stuck in the booth with Joe Buck to add color commentary every time the Red Sox square off against the Yanks. Reggie Miller haunts New York. End of story.
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