Andre Miller: The NBA journeyman who has returned home
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Andre Miller: The NBA journeyman who has returned home

Andre Miller spent 17 years in the NBA and donned jerseys for nine NBA teams. His longest tenure was with the Denver Nuggets — seven seasons in two stints. His shortest one was with the San Antonio Spurs, where he played just 13 games. It was also his last team before retiring in 2016.

Spending two decades as a professional basketball player in the number one league in the world HAS taught Miller how to navigate through the tricky highways of life. That wasn’t necessarily the case for Miller though he didn’t stray too far from the game. In the tail-end of his NBA career, he tried to coach — as ex-players would — but it didn’t pan out as he envisioned.

“Just feel like as much work you put into basketball, for me, I kinda forgot who I was. I don’t know what I should be doing. I don’t know if I should go back to school. I had a little travel basketball program while I was playing toward the end, but I never coached. But then when I retired and I tried to coach, the kids fired me

Andre Miller, via The Athletic

All that hopping from team to team, swapping from jersey to jersey, didn’t give him ample time to reflect. Miller found himself in limbo — but not for long. In December 2019, at a basketball camp in Las Vegas, he bumped into Zack Jones, the executive director of Balboa School. Not only was Jones a veteran youth basketball coach, but he had also always admired Miller’s college coach, Hall of Famer Rick Majerus. The stars aligned for Miller that day. He was named head coach of the Balboa School’s postgraduate basketball team in February 2020.

Miller’s passion for sharing his knowledge with the youth was one thing. But perhaps it was his profile as a journeyman that made him the ideal mentor. The team he coaches comprises student-athletes who have ample time to hone their collegiate basketball programs. They take college credits but are not full-time students. 

His 17-year career in the NBA as a nomad made Miller a walking symbol that screams: nothing is certain. But it doesn’t mean you can’t control your fate. Life is a process that unfolds every single day. His jump from squad to squad didn’t harden Miller’s heart. While his players are aiming to make it big, he knows that they’re just kids. He knows the proper approach. Miller knows that it’s all about enjoying the process.

“The kids watch a lot of NBA, of course, and of course with social media, they can just tune in and watch guys work out and pick up on those types of habits. The thing is trying to keep their kids’ attention because they can tune you out really fast. Fundamentals, mixture of fundamentals with college stuff and NBA stuff, just to make it fun. Not stressing the kids out because the main thing for them is to enjoy it and have fun.”

Andre Miller, via The Athletic

Miller has come home after 17 years in the league as a journeyman plus a couple more years of uncertainty. Maybe he never even left. Miller was always on the basketball court.