Reggie Miller wanted no part of being interviewed for "The Last Dance," had to anyway
While Reggie Miller and Michael Jordan had plenty of regular season battles, only once did the two face off in the NBA Playoffs. Spoiler Alert for "The Last Dance" viewers: that matchup occurred in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals, a tense series that went the distance, with MJ averaging 31.7 points per game to Miller's 17.4.
That series figures to be a big part of the last few episodes of the 10-part ESPN documentary, which features never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes footage from the Chicago Bulls' 1997-1998 season, one that ended with a third straight NBA Finals victory. It was Jordan and the Bulls' second three-peat in eight years.
Miller was one of the many casualties of the Jordan Bulls era, one in which his Pacers never reached the Finals, not even in the two years Jordan missed due to his first retirement and his stint as a minor league baseball player. Much like Jordan, Miller was one of the most fiery competitors not only in NBA history, but in sports history, so it should shock no one that to this day, Miller is still extremely bitter over never being able to get over the hump that was Jordan.
Much of that bitterness could be heard in Miller's voice during an interview with Dan Patrick on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Monday, the day after the first two episodes of "The Last Dance" aired. Sounds like Miller was a reluctant participant in the viewing process, unlike the rest of America that set a reminder to be on the couch at 9 p.m. ET.
"I did, yes, reluctantly I watched," said Miller when Patrick asked for his thoughts on the first two installments. "I will say this, if I was not coming on the show this morning, I doubt I would have watched last night. Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't have watched today [Monday] at some point, but I probably would not have watched last night.
"I don't want people to think 'why is he hating?' I'm not hating, it's more out of hurtful respect, because for those of us who were called by central casting to be in this movie versus the Bulls in the '90s, we lived it. I lived it."
Miller, who is expected to speak in the documentary at some point, later went on to say that he wanted no part of being interviewed for it, but was more or less forced to speak on camera.
"Again, reluctantly, yes. I tried to fight it, I didn't want to do it. I had everyone from the league office saying you need to be a part of this and everyone at Turner telling me I need to be a part of this and I was like 'no, no, no, go. No, no, no, go. No, I don't need to be a part of it.' And then I was like, look, maybe it was a healing part of it, to talk about--I don't want people to think it was some big rivalry, because a rivalry to me is we are on equal footing. I was not on equal footing with MJ, okay? But I loved the battles, and I know a lot of players would bow down to him, and that just was not going to be me. It was not in my nature to do that. Maybe I should have bowed down to him. But it was good to talk about some of those times, to help myself move on."
By the sound of it, Miller was still having nightmares about MJ up until speaking for this documentary. Poor guy. Hey, you have to respect just how much Miller hated losing.
The rest of the interview is well worth watching, especially the part when Miller says if he saw Jordan out at dinner, he'd probably punch him. Give it a watch below: