Only Bird, who had been hired seven days before the blaze, could persuade Miller to keep playing” – Why Reggie Miller almost retired in 1997

Only Bird, who had been hired seven days before the blaze, could persuade Miller to keep playing” – Why Reggie Miller almost retired in 1997

Reggie Miller‘s retirement in 2005 marked the end of an era for the Indiana Pacers. Over his 18-year career, the legendary shooter missed the playoffs just once and almost helped lead the franchise to a title multiple times. Still, only a few might know that his NBA stint nearly ended eight years earlier than it did.

In the 1997 offseason, Miller almost retired after his Indianapolis home was burned to the ground. Fortunately, he and his family had not yet moved in, although many of their prized possessions, including wedding keepsakes, family mementos, and basketball memorabilia, were in the house. Consequently, the Hall of Famer heavily considered stepping away from the sport, and only newly hired coach Larry Bird could change his mind.


His best friends on the Pacers, [Mark] Jackson and forward Dale Davis, did their best to talk him out of it, but only Bird, who had been hired seven days before the blaze, could persuade Miller to keep playing,” Marty Burns wrote for Sports Illustrated“Says Miller, ‘He said: You’ve got to move on. This is your team and your city — don’t let one bad apple ruin it.'”

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