Reggie. Reeeeeeh. Geeeeeeeee.
Few names have been chanted in New York with as much emotion in the past fifty years. From 1977-1981, Reggie Jackson was the slugging superstar of the Bronx Bombers. From 1993-2000, Reggie Miller was the sharpshooting scourge of the New York Knicks. In both cases, the players were known for diva histrionics and postseason heroics. Loved or loathed, neither will soon be forgotten.
Jackson's signature New York moment came in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. He clouted three home runs in three at-bats off Dodgers pitchers as the Yankees won the Fall Classic. At that point, 'Reggie' was a joyous exclamation in New York. A generation later, Miller made it a profanity throughout the five boroughs as his Indiana Pacers battled the Knicks in the NBA Playoffs six times from 1993 through 2000. Miller's signature postseason performance in New York came in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals.
With the Indiana Pacers trailing the New York Knicks 105-99 with 18.7 seconds remaining, Miller singlehandedly staged one of the most memorable postseason rallies in NBA history. Out of a timeout, Miller drained a three-point shot over John Starks.
16.7 seconds remained.
The Pacers applied full-court pressure as the Knicks attempted to inbound the ball after the make. Anthony Mason attempted to pass the ball in to Greg Anthony but he then tumbled to the floor, with some assistance from a push by Miller. No whistle. Miller intercepted the pass. Showing tremendous presence of mind as the Knicks flailed and fell around him, Miller stepped out beyond the three-point arc. Good.
"We were shell-shocked," Mason told ESPN.com years later. "We went numb after his second three. We became totally disoriented. It was like a terrible nightmare that you couldn't wake up from. I still think about it today. I can laugh about it now. I wasn't laughing then, that's for sure."
13.2 seconds remained.
Starks was fouled after Miller's rapid fire threes leveled the score but missed both ensuing free throws. Patrick Ewing snared the rebound but his putback didn't drop. Miller grabbed the rebound of that errant attempt to restore the Knicks' lead. He was fouled by Starks. He did not miss his free throws.
“John Starks choked. We came up big,” Miller told NBC after the game, via Pacers.com. “This is for you Indiana, we’re coming back!”
7.5 seconds remained.
The Knicks frittered away the final possession of the game and the Pacers took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Indiana would on to win the series in seven games.
Eighteen years later, Miller returns to the Garden to broadcast another playoff game between the Knicks and the Pacers, still reveling in his role as the worm in the Big Apple.
With Miller on the call for TNT, Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks to a series-evening Game 2 win on Tuesday night. As the final minutes of the Knicks' blowout win ticked down, the crowd at the Garden let Reggie know that it hasn't forgotten about him -- or forgiven him.