Tag: Naismith Hall of Fame

Quote of the Day: Don Nelson thinks life in Maui doesn’t suck


“Hopefully, this will be the last tuxedo I’ll be wearing.

“There is life after basketball. Come out and have a cup of coffee with me in Maui.”

—Don Nelson, the legendary Celtics player and the winningest coach NBA history, during his induction into the Hall of Fame speech Friday.

After Nelson chased after the Minnesota Timberwolves job in 2011 (Rick Adelman won out) it was thought he might try to return to coaching. But if he has made one thing clear during the run-up to his enshrinement, it is that he is done.

Because if your life is running a shave ice stand, drinking scotch while watching the sunset in Maui and playing poker with your buddies, well, who needs the NBA?

How Reggie, Cheryl Miller used to hustle playground games

Reggie Cheryl Miller

By the end of Friday night, Reggie and Cheryl Miller will be the first ever brother/sister combination enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. In fact, Cheryl will be on stage presenting Reggie when he makes his speech.

That gives me a good reason to tell my favorite Miller family story, one Cheryl Miller first told to People Magazine back in 1982 and Reggie recounted in his 1990s book “I Love Being The Enemy.”

The Millers grew up in Riverside, Calif., which is in the Inland Empire about a 40-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles (if there is no traffic, and good luck with that). He and Cheryl grew up on the playground games in that area (Reggie says shooting over Cheryl’s length led to the rainbow arc on his shots).

And the two used to run a little hustle in those playground games. Here is how Miller put it in his book:

“Back in the fifth and sixth grades, we’d go to the courts at John Adams Elementary or Hunt Park and hustle two-on-two games. We had it down to a science. It was the best hustle scam in Riverside, California.

“I’d tell Cheryl to hide in the bushes, and then I’d go up to a couple of older kids and arrange a game. ‘You guys want to play?’ I’d said. ‘I’m by myself … unless you count my sister.’

“Then I’d whistle, and Cheryl would come out from behind the bushes looking like she didn’t know a thing about basketball. You could see the two other guys looking at each other like, ‘Oh, my God, this is going to be easy.’

“We’d play for ten dollars; the first team to 10 by ones would win the money. Then we’d get down, 5-0, double the bet, and then take care of business. I’d look at Cheryl, she’d look at me, we’d wink, and then … 10-5 us, and on our way to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal.”

Miller was clutch even then. Really, Millers. Both of them.

I just love that story.

Video: ABA highlights of Hall of Famer Mel Daniels

Mel Daniels

There were a lot of guys — Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, George Gervin — who started their careers in the short-lived ABA and went on to legendary NBA careers. But Mel Daniels is the exception, he played almost his entire career in the ABA and had only one season with the Nets after the merger and in the NBA.

But with even with all those other stars, Daniels may have been the best player in the ABA — three time ABA champion with the Pacers, two time ABA MVP, seven-time ABA All-Star, a force inside that averaged 18.4 points and 14,9 rebounds a game.

It’s fitting that Daniels goes in to the Hall of Fame in the same class as Reggie Miller, they are the two greatest Pacers ever.