He was literally speechless
The NBA revealed its 75th Anniversary Team Thursday and no one was more surprised to learn he made the cut than Reggie Miller.
If I asked you whether Miller was one of the 75 best players in NBA history, you’d probably say yes without much hesitation. But making this list was a little more complicated. The team had to include everyone who made the league’s 50th Anniversary Team in 1996, so it’s really like a collection of the 25 best players of the past 25 years. That’s stiffer competition. (There were actually 76 players on the final list, due to a tie in voting.)
Miller spoke with Stephen Curry in an interview that aired during Inside the NBA on Thursday night, discussing Curry’s pursuit of Ray Allen’s all-time record for three-pointers made. After the segment aired, the crew brought Miller on the show and host Ernie Johnson caught him totally by surprise when he revealed that Miller had been named to the team.
“I know that [interview] happened just before the season began,” Johnson said. “So you had no idea at that point that you guys would be teammates on this night, huh? You made it.”
Miller was literally speechless as he tried to figure out if Johnson was talking about what he thought he was talking about. When he realized what was going on, he had the biggest grin stretch across his face.
“I’m a little shaken right now, because I wasn’t expecting to be on that list, truthfully,” Miller said once he was able to form a complete sentence again.
The full list includes 11 players who are still active: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. There are eight former players whose careers began after the 50th Anniversary Team was announced: Allen, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce and Dwyane Wade. That leaves only six spots for guys like Miller who debuted before 1996 but weren’t on the top-50 list. (As a brief aside, the fact that Shaquille O’Neal made the 50th Anniversary Team after just four years in the NBA is a testament to how transcendent a player he was.)
Miller’s face tells you just how much this honor meant to him. For a guy who famously never won a championship, it has to be especially rewarding to be recognized as one of the very best players in the history of the league.
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