Every New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers fan knows the history between Reggie Miller and John Starks. However, not all were able to follow what went down after their epic rivalry. As it turned out, that rivalry has long been gone.
No bad blood
The fearlessness, the in-game provoking demeanor, and the relentless three-point shooting – these were the most notable traits Miller displayed at the peak of the Knicks-Pacers rivalry in the 90s. Truth be told, we can totally understand why Starks and the Knicks hated “Uncle Reg” so much.
In Game 3 of the Knicks vs. Pacers playoff duel in 1993, Starks reached his boiling point and headbutted Miller in what became one of the most infamous moments in NBA history. As expected, it generated quite a buzz, and even to this day, that headbutting incident is still the first thing people remember whenever they hear Starks and Miller in the same sentence.
However, Starks revealed that no matter how bad it may have appeared at the time, nothing personal developed since then and he and Reggie never had issues with one another after it.
“Reggie was definitely one of those guys that I had to pay a lot of attention to. Obviously, he’s a Hall of Famer and a great player. He could shoot the ball, was one of the best at it. He was one of those guys who would try to get under your skin on the court. So I had to learn over the years how to deal with that… And I dealt it with the headbutt [laughs]. But after that, me and Reggie didn’t have any more issues for the rest of our careers,” Starks told Hoopshype last year.
It was different back then
While it is now clear that Starks never really had any hatchet to bury with Miller, it didn’t seem that way back then. In fact, when Starks looked back at his headbutt on Miller just a few years ago, he said:
“That needed to happen. No matter what, it needed to happen… I scored on him and ran up the court, and I was so mad; I wanted to take my fist and put it through his face. We just got close, and just, ‘BAM!’ just tapped him like that, and he knows, he dramatic, Hollywood.”
Some could say Starks shouldn’t have let his anger get the better of him at the time. But what’s done is done and the most important thing is the sportsmen in Starks and Miller still prevailed.