This is an article from the May 10, 2010 issue
The five-time All-Star is an NBA analyst for TNT
Dan Patrick:Spurs-Suns. Who do you like to win that series?
Reggie Miller: San Antonio.
DP:Yeah. The Spurs never go away. They're the Freddy Krueger of the NBA. You turn around, and there they are again.
RM: And Phoenix has never beaten the San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series.
DP:I think the Spurs should bring back Robert Horry just for this series.
RM: I don't think they're going to need Horry. [Manu] Ginóbili is playing fantastic. Even though Tim Duncan struggled in that first-round series against the Mavs, I think they've found an emerging star in George Hill. I think DeJuan Blair is going to be huge in this series; it's the type of series he can thrive in because he's going to be going against smaller players. I see the Spurs winning this in six.
DP:Is Duncan one of the 10 best players of all time?
RM: No. But I would put him in the top 15. And that's saying a lot, obviously.
DP:If I'm Kobe, I'm rooting for the Cavs because your legacy just gets more impressive when you can say you got to the Finals and bumped off LeBron in his MVP season.
RM: If this dream matchup does occur—and there's a lot of work to be done—and Kobe Bryant ends up winning his fifth ring, you have to compare him to Michael Jordan.
DP:Vinny Del Negro is probably going to be shown the door in Chicago....
RM: Not fair.
DP:He did a pretty good job with that team. Now they're talking about coaching candidates, and it's the usual suspects—except for one long shot I heard mentioned: Phil Jackson. Could you ever see him going back to Chicago?
RM: No. Unless he knows that LeBron James is going there, or Dwyane Wade. But I just can't see Phil Jackson leaving the comforts of L.A. You have a set team that you can peg in to at least the conference finals every year. And Kobe has three more strong years.
DP:I can't see it either. But I think Kobe saw the future with Oklahoma City in the first round and got a little bit nervous.
RM: Scotty Brooks did a fabulous job with such a young roster. They were a box out away from Game 7.
DP:When you were a player, you got fined a few times. What for?
DP:You of all people....
RM: I know. I'm kinder and gentler now. But I never got into fights during the playoffs. I might have goaded guys into fighting during the playoffs. But I never fought myself.
DP:Who were you fighting?
RM: Let's see, I got into a fight with Jordan, got into a fight with Kobe, got into a fight with Vlade Divac, got into a fight with Doc Rivers.
RM: Yeah, that wasn't a really smart one. He's a tough dude.
DP:When did you know that you wanted your teammates to jump in and help you?
RM: You've got to be able to handle yourself for at least the first five seconds. You've got to be able to take the first few blows.
DP:And then you run behind Dale Davis?
RM: No, no, no [laughs]. You can't run behind anyone.
Before the season, MLB Network analyst Mitch Williams picked the Red Sox to win the World Series, but based on their slow start—Boston was 11--12 in the first month of the season—the former closer is ready to admit that his pick isn't coming to fruition. "You cannot win the division in April," he told me, "but at the end of the year [the Red Sox] are going to be able to testify that you can dang sure lose it in April, because I think their season is over."
A New Leaf
Last month, former QB Ryan Leaf was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to illegally obtaining prescription drugs. Leaf, who was quarterbacks coach at West Texas A&M in 2008 and got hooked on Vicodin, was glad that his celebrity brought more attention to his situation. "I'm happier than anything that my notoriety allowed that to come out earlier," Leaf told me. "Because who knows, it could have killed me. I'm very happy I got caught."
Line of the week
Warren Sapp, who finished second on Dancing with the Stars in 2008, hasn't been too impressed with this year's NFL entry, Chad Ochocinco (above): "He's stuck in one spot. Geez, get a little fluidity to you. It's like a nine route. Go!"
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Suns coach Alvin Gentry talks about his team's playoff run.
2. Bob Costas discusses the major sports' commissioners.
THE FINE PRINT: The Padres are wearing their 1970s brown-and-yellow uniforms every Thursday. Or, as they're known to memorabilia collectors, ThrowBevacquas.