Friday, May 20, 2005

A touch of class

What Pistons coach Larry Brown did at the end of last night's Game 6 with the Pacers was one of the classiest, most respectful gestures I've ever seen in my lifetime of watching sports. With Indiana about to lose the game, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle took the soon-to-retire Reggie Miller out of the game so the Indianapolis crowd could acknowledge the 18 years he'd played with the Indiana Pacers. Knowing that the ovation would end as soon as play resumed, Larry Brown called a time-out so the cheers could continue. He also told his own players on the Pistons' bench to stand and cheer for Miller, whom Brown coached from 1994 to 1997.

It was a great example of sportsmanship, and probably the perfect end to games between Detroit and Indiana in 2004-05, which will likely always carry the taint of last November's brawl. (And as a Pistons fan, I think it was the exact opposite of an incident at the end of the 1991 season that has always bothered me, in which the Pistons - about to lose to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls - walked off the court before the game officially ended, rather than shake hands.) Here's more from Terry Foster.

Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press

Don't worry, Reg. Come over and watch the rest of the playoffs at my house.

I'm not a huge fan of Reggie Miller. I always thought he received all the acclaim and fame that should've gone to Detroit's Joe Dumars, whom I will argue was a much better and more complete player until the day I die. But 18 years is 18 years, and Miller was a lethal jump shooter, especially from three-point range who won a hell of a lot of games for the Indiana Pacers.

Here's the hometown take on Miller from Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. Me, I'd rather read about how the Pistons will play the Miami Heat in the next round of the NBA playoffs. 8 down, 8 to go.