How Reggie Miller's Enshrinement Hurts the Hall of Fame

Kwame Fisher-JonesContributor IIIFebruary 26, 2012

As basketball fans we should all be appalled at the nomination and eventually the enshrinement of Reggie Miller into the Basketball Hall of Fame. It is a travesty of epic proportion. However, it continues a pattern that the NBA has established of allowing good players into a room designated for only the flawless.

Hierarchy in sports is not just needed, it is necessary in saluting those who have accomplished the inconceivable, which is why Miller’s enshrinement is so disrespectful to those who are unparalleled.

Every player who played for a really really really long time and was efficient should not be nominated into the Hall of Fame, especially those players whose repertoire includes jumpshots and jumpshots only.

What was it about Miller’s game that warrants a Hall of Fame nod? What did Reggie Miller do outside of hitting jump shots at a high level, not at a Hall of Fame level, but at just a high level?

Miller is one of the greatest shooters of all-time and should be recognized as such, but he is not a Hall of Fame player. The UCLA product was terrific at times, but not all the time.

First the facts: The Indiana Pacers guard’s best skill was his shooting. Apparently his shooting was HOF worthy, but how does a skill that is displayed a whopping 1.8 times a game make a player Springfield bound? Yes Miller is only the second player to make 2,000 or more three-pointers and he should be commended for that, not enshrined.

Historically there is no three-point statistical category Miller leads the NBA in. He is second in career three-pointers made and taken; now to be fair he was recently overtaken by Ray Allen.

However, numbers only tell part of the story regarding Miller. The other part is told through accomplishments in what would have been his perceived prime.

The Pacers’ guard NEVER made a first or second All-NBA team in his illustrious 18-year career. Some of the names whom people thought were more worthy of the accolade: Kevin Johnson, Dale Ellis, Mark
Price, Tim Hardaway, Drazen Petrovic, Mitch Richmond and Rod Strickland to name a few. All were good players, just like Miller, and none are worthy of Hall of Fame recognition, just like Miller.

So during Miller’s prime years, his peers and the writers who covered him never viewed him as better than the fifth best guard in the league. In fact, 14 out of 18 of those years he was not even considered a top six guard. Again hall of what?

The numbers get worse as you review his All-Star selections. In the five years Miller made the All-Star game, he was voted in by the fans once and the coaches selected him the other four years.

This begs the question: If the fans and coaches did not consider him an All-Star guard who is gassing him for the Hall?

When asked what part of Miller’s game, other than shooting, was done at an elite level it was not asked from a place of malice, but to reconfirm his rightful position among NBA players. The guard is believed to be more than what he actually is. His peers regarded him as a good player worthy of mention, but not concern. 

How does above average get confused for exceptional? There were certainly moments the guard was unbelievable, but not seasons, which is who the Hall of Fame should be reserved for.

Miller’s explosion in the closing minutes at Madison Square Garden placed him in a stratosphere that was not consistent with his talent level. While most remember how clutch the guard was in New York, few recall his 13-points in Game 7 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was Reggie Miller. In his singular trip to the NBA Finals he shot 41 percent and went for 24-points per. He did very little besides scoring to impact those six games and was never “clutch” in any of them. The dead-eye shooter missed six straight shots to open Game 1 and failed to take over a fourth quarter in the entire series and lead his team to victory.

Game 4 of the 2000 NBA Finals was where Miller’s star power needed to shine most, with an opportunity to tie the series up at two games a piece, Miller was out shined by Brian Shaw and a young gun named Kobe Bryant. It was Bryant who seized the moment, not Miller. Bryant’s last second offensive rebound and reverse layup were countered by a missed three-pointer by Miller.

That is the difference between a Hall of Famer and a sporadic All-Star. When it looks darkest, your star shine brightest. Too many times in Miller’s career he went unnoticed. Too many times in Miller’s career the opposing guard found ways to win, whether it was a rebound, a steal, an assist or a key stop. The Pacers guard’s only response was a jumpshot, which would go in 45 percent of the time, thus leaving the Pacers as losers the other 55 percent of the time.

Miller could not dribble around you or post you up to score so please let us not confuse him for a scorer. He was active and ran off screens well, which makes him better than say a Rip Hamilton, but not in the same group of say a JoJo White. The Riverside native’s defense was suspect at best and was exposed whenever he played an explosive player; see Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Reggie Lewis, Penny Hardaway and Rip Hamilton.

Yes the guard had spectacular games against the New York Knicks and specifically John Starks, but the Knicks, much to the world’s chagrin, is not and have not been the measuring stick for Hall of Fame players. Yet, it is those games that have manipulated the mindset of some. Where was Miller in the countless of times the Pacers hit the wall and needed their “star” to lead them? What did Miller do when his shot was not falling? 

A guard who cannot rebound at a high level, distribute the ball at a high level and defend at a high level is barely an All-Star and should never be considered a Hall of Famer. To date the Hall has fell victim to the hype and ignored the production. The recent enshrinement of Chris Mullin and Reggie Miller killed the credibility of many of the voters for the Hall.

The mere fact that during their playing days the fans, coaches, players and sports writers                     acknowledged them as good players but not great players should hold more weight than a few ESPN and local news highlights.

The Hall of Fame should be reserved for the best of the best. It should not be a mixture of rare luxury cars and Lexuses. In sports there are players who are better than others so the judging process does not have to be done in a Communist manner.

It is nice to believe all men are created equally, but they are not. If we allow the good to mix with the great, where do the magnificent go? The Hall of Fame should be preserved for the players whose talents we will never see again. It should be reserved for players whose exploits can be relived and recalled from coast-to-coast, not in certain time zones.

Miller’s enshrinement gives hope to the average Joe that they too can lay in the final resting spot of MJ, Magic, Russell, Wilt and Elgin to name a few, and that is not a good thing.

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