That sting from losing Game 7 of the 1998 conference finals still sits with Miller, according to Jalen Rose
Sunday night concluded the 10-part series of “The Last Dance,” with the penultimate episode focusing a significant amount of time on the 1998 Eastern Conference finals between the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers. Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller took turns detailing the events of that hard-fought, seven-game series with Jordan concluding that the Pacers were the toughest opponent the Bulls faced in the East during those championship years — outside of the “Bad Boys” Pistons.
Miller’s perspective of playing against Jordan was a welcome addition, because even though the Pacers and Bulls don’t have as storied a history as the Pistons or Knicks might, Miller’s confidence provided some memorable moments between the two players.
“He and I had somewhat of a unique relationship,” Miller said in the documentary. “Most people feared Michael Jordan, and rightfully so. But I didn’t fear Michael Jordan like the rest of the league did, and we had to lock horns over it. I respected him so much, but he probably thought I was just some mouthy, skinny kid.”
However, getting Miller to agree to be interviewed for the docuseries was quite a journey. “The Last Dance” director Jason Hehir discussed trying to interview Miller on the “Jalen & Jacoby Aftershow” on ESPN, following Sunday night’s finale.
“It took us a while to get Reggie,” Hehir told Jalen Rose and David Jacoby. “We called and called and called and emailed and called and called and called, and finally he agreed to sit down. “I don’t know if he just wasn’t getting those calls or if he was avoiding them or what. But he gave a great interview. You gotta hand it to the guy, because I know it must sting still to this day to get that close, because that squad was incredible.”
That lingering sting from losing in Game 7 of the conference finals is apparently the reason why Miller didn’t want to be interviewed in the first place. Rose, who was Miller’s teammate for five years in Indiana, couldn’t even get Miller to agree to participate in the documentary.
“I was trying to initially get him to interview for this doc, and he ain’t want to do it,” Rose said. “It was too much pain.”
Eventually Miller came around to participating in the documentary, but it’s understandable why he wouldn’t want to be part of it in the first place. As Hehir noted in Sunday night’s interview, Jordan’s greatness came at the expense of a significant amount of Hall of Fame talent not winning championships, or even reaching the NBA Finals. Miller is certainly among that list of players, but by agreeing to be interviewed for the documentary shows how much respect he still has for Jordan.
CBS Sports HQ Newsletter
We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge.
I agree that CBS Sports can send me the “CBS Sports HQ Newsletter” newsletter.
See All Newsletters
Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe.