Reggie Miller: Spike Lee Is a … ‘Good Friend’

Jan 27, 2010 12:23pm

Reggie Miller and Spike Lee are cool now — sort of. 

“We’ve somewhat mended fences,” Miller said in a recent interview with ABC News Now’s “Popcorn With Peter Travers.” “Spike, I consider you a [pause] good friend. Thank you very much for your participation in this movie. Next time, drinks are on you.”

Of course, Miller was talking about his legendary on-court clash with Lee during the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals, in which Miller’s Pacers annihilated Lee’s Knicks during the last moments of the game. Miller made the victory infamous with the throat/crotch grab he shot at Lee after scoring eight points in 8.9 seconds.

His triumph is chronicled in filmmaker Dan Klores’ “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks,” which premiered Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (It premieres nationwide on as part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series on March 14 at 9 p.m. ET.) 

Prior to the Sundance premiere, Miller talked basketball and beef with “Popcorn.”

“What this film captures is the rivalry between two teams,” he said. “That’s what the game is missing today. Great rivalries where fans can jump on the bleachers and really root for their team. You look at the teams now, the Pacers and the Knicks, and they’re terrible.”

Miller revealed how he really feels about some of the more controversial relationships in his NBA career, like his contentious one with former Pacers coach Larry Brown. 

“Having a chance to be away from it and away from the game, he was the best coach I ever had,” Miller said. “In the moment, sometimes I couldn’t take it.”

And he offered this about ex-Knick Patrick Ewing:

“Mean, dour, but a very smart ball player.”

Miller also divulged his thoughts on one of the NBA’s biggest rivalries today — Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James — to ABCNews.com. Check out what he said:

Now that he’s got a basketball movie of his own, Miller reflected on some of his all-time favorite films about the sport.

“You can never go wrong with ‘Hoosiers,’” he said. “I also love the movie, and it’s an old school one, ‘One on One with Robbie Benson.’”

And finally, about Lee: while Miller may not be on the best of terms with the die-hard Knicks supporter, he respects his attitude, and wishes more NBA fans would follow his lead.

“There should be more Jack [Nicholsons] and Spikes across the board,” he said. “Spike’s still there, win or lose. Spike’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna win this one!,’ and I’m like, ‘No you’re not! No, you’re not.’”

– Sheila Marikar

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