All December long the Back Home Again staff will be recounting the Top 25 Reggie Miller Moments of all-time as part of our “25 Days of Reggie.” The countdown will serve as a great way to get geared up for the start of the 2011 NBA season (and Christmas) as we remember and honor one of the NBA’s most clutch performers and the Indiana Pacers’ greatest player ever.
You may be surprised to know that Reginald Wayne Miller wasn’t the best basketball player…in his own family (for a while). Shocking, but true.
Reggie’s older sister, Cheryl, was an unbelievable basketball player during the late 1970’s in Riverside, California. She averaged over 30 points per game and 15 rebounds in her days at Riverside Polytechnic High School and even once put up 100 points in a game.
Your first question may be: “Robby, what on earth does talking about Reggie’s older sister have to do with Reggie as a player?” I’m glad you asked.
Growing up playing 1 on 1 in the backyard, Reggie was frequently beaten down by his older sister. Cheryl would prey on the younger Reggie (by 1 1/2 years) during her hey-day and their pick-up games in the backyard would get so heated that frequently Reggie would storm off after losing and the two wouldn’t talk until they went back outside to play again.
Cheryl got the best of Reggie for a lengthy period of time, until Reggie finally grew into his 6’7 frame and began to block Cheryl’s shot. His athleticism finally caught up to his older sister and pick-up games were no more in the backyard after Regg didn’t have a challenge shooting down his sis.
One thing that Reggie contributes to playing in the back yard against his sister was his unorthodox shooting style. For the early years, Reggie would face off against his sister as a shorter, skinnier basketballer. His shots were frequently blocked by Cheryl, and he needed a way to overcome his sister’s advantage.
Reggie continues to proclaim that his unique shooting style was developed to arc his shot over Cheryl’s shot blocking. It wasn’t in the gym, it was Cheryl that gave Reggie the skills to shoot and ultimately have a nearly unblockable shot. You don’t see too many highlights in the past where any of Reggie’s 3’s are blocked. Ever.
That’s all thanks to the games of 1 on 1 in the back yard against big sister Cheryl. The two stay close even to this day. During Reggie’s jersey retirement ceremony, you can see the
two have an emotional embrace upon the conclusion of his speech. Both work for TNT as broadcasters and still see each other on a regular basis.
Reggie would never have been Reggie without Cheryl. Even though we always know about #31’s work ethic and determination, if it wasn’t for his older sister, he may have never had that ugly, sweet shooting J that no one could stop.