Skip to main content

Reggie Miller believes he missed out on not one, but two chances at a championship with the Indiana Pacers


The Los Angeles Lakers defeated Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers for their first Shaq and Kobe era championship, winning the series 4-2. Fans would remember that era as a time where Shaquille O'Neal and the Lakers just dominated the league, but the NBA Finals series against the Pacers was a lot closer than we recall.

Three of the four Laker wins came with a margin of seven points or less, the exception being the game one blowout to open the series in Tinseltown. Reggie and the Pacers were much closer to being a championship team than the league gave them credit for, but after countless battles with the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and the emergence of a young superpower in the Los Angeles Lakers, the Pacers knew that their roster at the time was not going to be able to get it done.

"We had never won a championship, looking at all the contracts and age, it was time for us to get younger. They pulled the plug in getting Jermaine."

Reggie Miller, Untold: The Malice in the Palace

In the quote, Miller refers to Jermaine O'Neal, the young prep star drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers, for whom GM Donnie Walsh traded seasoned veteran Dale Davis. At that time, Reggie was nearing the end of his career and was still missing that elusive championship. O'Neal was someone Walsh thought could eventually replace Reggie as the leader a few years down the road; Walsh then traded for Ron Artest and suddenly had an NBA title contender.

"In the 2004 playoffs, it was us (Indiana) versus Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals. We were the two best teams in the league both offensively and defensively, I knew that whoever won that series was going to win the championship."

Reggie Miller, Untold: The Malice in the Palace

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

To make it clear - this is Reggie saying he was convinced Shaq and Kobe are losing in the Finals either way. That's how confident Miller was in the Pacers (but also the Pistons.) The Eastern Conference Finals series was one of the most entertaining ones the NBA has ever seen. Despite the Pistons winning in six games, it was full of moments that swung momentum back and forth between the Detroit Pistons and the team with the best record that year, the Indiana Pacers. Who could forget the Tayshaun Prince chase-down on Reggie Miller in game five that set the stage for a closeout game six at the Palace?

While that was the highlight we all remember from that year, the documentary shows the play that sealed Indiana's fate in game six. This was none other than a Ron Artest flagrant foul by way of an elbow to Rip Hamilton's face that virtually cost Indiana the chance to force a deciding game seven at home. The costly error by Artest probably cost Reggie his first NBA championship.

"I could not get them to understand the opportunity, I'm pleading with these guys (to) get on the same page."

Reggie Miller, Untold: The Malice in the Palace

O'Neal, Artest, and the rest of the Pacers never managed to get on the same page. In fact, they barely got to share the court thanks to that night at The Palace. It's funny how a night that turned out to be a coming party for the Pacers as championship contenders turned into the moment that would change the trajectory of their careers forever. Artest and Jackson eventually got their championships later in their careers, but it's rather unfortunate that the two leaders of a team many believed would inevitably win the championship were the ones who ended up without the title they cared so much to win.

Character is everything, and sometimes no matter how much one is provoked, choosing violence is a course of action that brings forth just much emotional damage as it does physical. Of course, Reggie and Jermaine are over the fact that their careers ended with a few missed opportunities at a championship. Still, it is time to give them their flowers and realize that their lack of a ring had much to do with the other personalities on their team that acted irrationally.

The players involved claim that they acted in self-defense, and while this may be true, Artest certainly had a big role in the escalation of tempers that night. Reggie Miller and Jermaine O'Neal should have retired with NBA championships under their belts, but that did not happen because of Artest. The two legends will never get a ring as players, given that their playing days are over; perhaps this documentary is the only way to come to terms with a situation beyond their control. For us fans, like them or not, the best we can do to right the ship is to watch the documentary and gain a deeper understanding of what happened that night so we can make the right judgments about who really did wrong.

Too Short believes Jay Z's remake of 'Blow The Whistle' was more than just a diss song: 'I think he was thinking about signing LeBron'

Too Short believes Jay-Z's remake of 'Blow The Whistle' was more than just a diss song: 'I think he was thinking about signing LeBron'

In 2008, Jay Z did a remake of Too Short's "Blow the Whistle" as a response to DeShawn Stevenson's "overrated" dig at LeBron James. The message was on point but Too Short thinks it was more than just a diss song

Dwyane Wade on Kobe Bryant's rap skills: 'Sounded like Stephen A. Smith would rap'

Dwyane Wade on Kobe Bryant's rap skills: 'Sounded like Stephen A. Smith would rap'

Whenever Dwyane Wade hears Kobe Bryant rap, he also think about Stephen A. Smith.

Bill Simmons on the Rudy Gobert trade - “Gonna spend the next 48 hours…wondering if Minnesota just made the most inexplicable NBA overpay trade of all time”

Bill Simmons blasts the Rudy Gobert trade: "Minnesota just made the most inexplicable NBA overpay trade of all time"

Bill Simmons said he believes this may be one of the most inexplicable overpays in NBA history, and chances are, he is right

Instagram model Yasmine Lopez confirms she dated Carmelo Anthony: 'I was literally sitting next to him in the bed'

Instagram model Yasmine Lopez confirms she dated Carmelo Anthony: 'I was literally sitting next to him in the bed'

Carmelo Anthony's marriage with LaLa fell apart primarily due to his alleged unfaithfulness. Years after their divorce, one of Melo's rumored side chicks opened up.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving

”He went back to the Nets with his tail between his legs. Why can't we just say that?” — Bill Simmons calls a spade a spade about Kyrie Irving's free agency

While discussing media coverage of NBA Free Agency, and all of its absurdities, Bill Simmons reflected on Shams' "embarrassing" myth-building around Kyrie Irving.

North Carolina Tar Heels guard Michael Jordan

The “first person to discover Michael Jordan” describes how North Carolina reacted to MJ

According to Roy Williams, you don’t really need to have an eye for a new prospect to notice a young Jordan, who was simply known as “Mike” at the time.

NBA legend Kevin Garnett and Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis

“Go in the lab & get ‘yo sh*t right” — Kevin Garnett stays on-brand with some tough love for Anthony Davis

Kevin Garnett has some choice words for Anthony Davis and challenges him to win the MVP.

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson

Stephen Jackson trolled on social media after visiting O' Block — ”Go be a family man“

While some may have seen Jackson’s act as tough and hard, others saw it as posing.