Swish, swish, swish! This year saw Reggie Miller doing the talking while someone else was doing the playing. Reggie stepped into the Spike Lee role as Ray Allen was on Miller time.
Okay, so it wasn't as dramatic as it sounds, but, just like Mars Blackmon and Michael Jordan, all Reggie could do was watch, hug and congratulate as Ray Allen beat his all-time three-point leading record. There was nothing that he or anybody could do about it, and there won't be for a long time. Nobody can touch our new three-ball man, Ray Allen. SWISH! Noooobody!
You see, Reggie took the bullets out of his dead-eye assassin's gun a long time ago, and—despite a few inklings to pull an M.J. a few years back—Miller didn't want to tug a hamstring or two, so he stayed retired. Reggie is a commentator nowadays, and that's exactly what he was doing when he and his ESPN team watched Boston Celtic Ray Allen nail bucket after bucket as he kept raining on Miller's all-time three-point record this season.
DAMN! Now that has to hurt. Years ago, they were talking about how Reggie was a better three-point shooter then Bird. Now that's all flying away and when it's all said and done, the best three-point title now belongs to a member of the new Boston.
Still, it was nothing but pride and joy as Reggie commentated and spoke honestly about Ray and his legacy. As the torch was being passed, at least he can be rest assured that someone is keeping the shooter's touch burning pure. Besides, from New York City to the pages of SLAM magazine, Reggie always relished the villain role. Now what better hero to overcome the villain then our savior, Jesus Shuttlesworth?
Spike Lee couldn't write it any better. Ray Allen's got game and he's got Reggie. His 2,612 career threes (and counting) have torched Miller's incredible 2,560. Sure, Jason Kidd is in third place on the all-time made list with 1,795, but his bronze shot is almost a thousand below Ray's.
Plus, Jason? You're kidding, right? Solid, yep, but pure? This isn't child's play. Ray passed Reggie's high three-point bar like law school as the books were re-written. One question remains, however: Which player is the better shooter? Is No. 34 really one better than No. 33?
Technically speaking, yes—technically speaking, that is. Both shots, of course, are historically pure, but there's something so fluid about Allen's rays. From the hand-and-eye body coordination and positioning to the range of motion. purity is this shooter's devotion. It almost looks rigid, but it's actually relaxed, honed after years of practicing at home.
Allen shoots like an EA video game before all that real-DNA technology, but this is live and in living color. You almost expect every shot to go in. Sure, Reggie's flick-of-the-wrist shot worked so well that ESPN made a movie out of it, but Allen's just looks a bit better and is looking even better by the game and the record breaking.
Statistically speaking, Allen edges Miller as well. Obviously, Ray has shot down the greatest figure, but right now his stats across the board stack up better, too. Allen (6,554) has taken less shots to get to this milestone point than Reggie did in his career (6,486), but obviously Reggie has played more than Ray and, surely if Miller came back, he could make even more threes with his time. At this point, Allen's .399 percentile still marginally passes Reggie's .395. This is not a test. The baton has truly been passed from one legend to another.
Still (and this isn't taking anything away from Ray), there was just something about Reggie Miller. You have to love someone who everybody has hated. The bad guys are normally the ones you root for more in drama, whether fictionalized or televised. Seriously, who do you prefer: Batman or the Joker? Reggie played his cards right as well, playing the bad guy to a tee like Tiger, just with love for the game.
Now, Ray Allen is a clutch king who can shoot over anything, including prison walls—just ask Denzel. But compared to Reggie's clutch, forget about it. There's nothing between them, not even 8.9 seconds—right, Spike? I'm sorry, Spike who? Reggie had that "it's-my-game" killer instinct like only two others in history: Kobe and M.J.
The difference between Miller and the two greatest of all time was that Reggie was more adept from the three, as he routinely dropped bombs from behind the arc, two-by-two like Noah, three-by-three like M.J and Kobe trophies. Sure, there was no ring, but there was plenty of classic, golden, "Where Amazing Happens" moments.
Ray's threes impressed the hell out of people, but Reggie's scared the expletives out of folk. Just ask Spike Lee, Madison Square Garden and the City of New York. Allen may hold all sorts of three-point records from the season (269 made) to the finals (eight sunk), but Reggie holds the heart of New York basketball in his merciless grip, right to the core of their rotten '90s playoff runs.
Sure, now we are going further beyond the arc to Robert Horry territory, because that still isn't a determinant for how pure these players' three-point shots are in comparison. It's merely just a hint. With this comparison, we are going into who is the better player range, mind over mechanics, which has only a little to do with the purity of the shot and more to do with everything else that comes later.
As for the shooting, however, critics, fans, bloggers and anyone else alike could take shots all day. The fact remains that both players' sniper shots (that are actually real, taken and made) were—and are—as pure as straight vodka with no chaser. Still, as Ray downs Reggie's milestone, another thing is as clear as Smirnoff: Ray has indeed shot down Reggie and he's got plenty more bullets in his gun for his next season and legacy.
The gunslinger is about to draw again. Swish, swish, SWISH!