You have to develop thick skin when your sister regularly kicks your ass. Cheryl Miller is one of the best female players ever, and her baby brother was a regular customer. That experience made Reggie Miller one of the best trash talkers in NBA history - he would talk from jump ball to the final buzzer, no matter who you are. Some people seemed to have forgotten that.
Free Agency Day 2 is behind us, and the consensus is three teams stood out. The Bulls brought in Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, and most recently, DeMar DeRozan to become relevant again. Miami means business with Kyle Lowry at the point and paying Duncan Robinson $90 million, making him the highest-paid undrafted player in NBA history. Then there are the Purple and Gold - the Lakers obviously think late 30s are the new 20s, as they have 5 of the 8 most experienced players in the league (career minutes played). After the bombastic trade for Westbrook, we all wondered how would the Lakers fill up their roster, and 48 hours later, we have most of the answer.
- Talen Horton Tucker, 3 years - $32,000,000
- Kendrick Nunn, 2 years - $10,000,000
- Carmelo Anthony, 1 year - $2,641,691
- Trevor Ariza, 1 year - $2,641,691
- Wayne Ellington, 1 year - $2,641,691
- Dwight Howard, 1 year - $2,641,691
- Kent Bazemore, 1 year - $2,401,537
- Malik Monk, 1 year - $1,789,256
He probably won't be the most important contributor on this list, but when you finally get Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James on the same team, and that team happens to be the Los Angeles Lakers - that's your headline. We've speculated about this possibility for years, and it finally came true. If it were an option, the Lakers locker room would be no.1 on League Pass.
Reggie echoed what all of us are feeling. Love them or hate them, there's no way you don't keep an eye on this Lakers roster. Given their cap limitations after the Westbrook trade, we knew most of the guys would be on 1-year contracts and that they would probably give discounts for a chance at the ring. That's the reality of the modern NBA. Still, one of the top replies under Reggie's tweet called these players out as ring chasers. Poor fella forgot who he was tweeting at. Reggie came in with some hard truth.
Miller knows what he's talking about. From 1987 to 2005, Reggie played his ass off for the Indiana Pacers, trying to get them to the top. He could've joined other stars and gone to larger markets, but Miller wanted to win a ring playing against the best, not joining them. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, and as today's discourse about players often starts and stops at rings, Reggie understands why players sacrifice money (and status within their team) to "get dat jewelry."
I don't think the conversation is as simple and linear as this exchange would make it seem, but that's the curse of communicating in 140 or 280 characters - and that's the problem. You can't appreciate nuance and details in a society that communicates over social media. Sadly, that's where a lot of basketball fans live, and careers are judged. As long as that's the case, players will feel the pressure to win a ring or be labeled a failure.
But if you do start a discussion online, for the love of God, don't be sassy to one of the greatest trash talkers ever. Know your history.