"Man, Did This Dude Just Did This?" and the Other 45 Greatest Quotes from "Winning Time"

Last night, the documentary Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks premiered on ESPN. And it is wonderful. Based on all the reactions I have heard, you don’t even have to be a Pacers fan to enjoy this one. I mean, some Knicks fans even dug it. (You can check out some more background on the movie here.)

If I had been the director, however, it wouldn’t have even been Winning Time. No, the title definitely would have been “Man, Did This Dude Just Did This?”

This is the exact phrase that John Starks used to describe what was going through his mind after Reggie hit the back-to-back threes that made up 75% of his infamous 8 points in 8.9 seconds outburst in 1995, which, if you’re new around these parts, is the very same sequence for which this blog is named.

Mostly, I would call it “Man, Did Dude Just Did This?” to highlight the true source of greatness for this flick: the interviews. Director Dan Klores spoke with most of the principals from the 1990s Pacers/Knicks rivalry and got some stellar content. But more than just running a camera to record people talking and calling that good, he expertly weaved the comments together to create a fantastic, patch-work, uninterrupted narrative from many different voices that perfectly describes everything the viewer needs to know.

For someone such as myself who knew 90% of the material going in, it is the craftsmanship displayed in this regard that is both the most impressive and the most entertaining part of the documentary.

Insight. Humor. Stage-setting. It’s all there. And there’s so much of it.

Thus, here are my favorite 46 quotes from Winning Time, including the wonderfully grammatically challenged one that could have made this thing a John Starks joint.


On Reggie

Pacers play-by-play announcer Mark Boyle: “The first time I saw him, I was taken aback. The guy looked like Mr. Potato Head on a stick.”

Cheryl Miller: “He’s maddening. He is a maddening human being.”

Patrick Ewing: “He was a great con man. Ya know, he was always crying to the ref, running off, flopping. Ya know, knock you down, smack you and act like he was the one getting smacked. I … ya know … tell ya … I hated Reggie.”

Reggie Miller: “Seventy percent of me talking on the court is personally for me to get me motivated and going. Thirty percent is to see if I can get into the opponent’s head.”

On Cheryl Miller

Reggie Miller: “Cheryl was the king of the block — and that was over the guys and the girls. She jumped the highest. She played the hardest. And she hit the hardest.”

Reggie Miller: “I learned a lot form the beat downs. Cheryl’s tough. Very tough.”

Cheryl Miller: “I would kill him. I loved killing Reggie. And dad would come out ‘Don’t hit your brother’ and all that kind of stuff. But he was … just … that … annoying.”

Cheryl Miller: “I was physically bigger and better than him. So every time that he would come in the middle, I would send it back. And I would laugh about him and give him a hard time and say ‘Alright. Alright, you sissy. This is where the big girls play.'”

On the John Starks Head Butt (Game 3, 1993)

Reggie: “Looking at Oakley, I was like ‘Your boy is really, really dumb. I mean he is really, really dumb. Are you serious?'”

Antonio Davis: “I’m surprised he didn’t have, like, a pack of ketchup and just put it up to his head, and you look and you think he’s bleeding.”

Reggie Miller: “I don’t talk trash. I keep telling you that. I’m a good guy.”

On the Rivalry’s Physicality

Antonio Davis: “Against the Indiana Pacers, you wasn’t coming down the middle. If you came down once, you definitely knew you couldn’t come down again.”

Greg Anthony: “We would say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna win something tonight. We’re either gonna win the game or the fight.'”

Patrick Ewing: “If we knocked someone down, it was a fine to pick them back up.”

On the 25-point Fourth Quarter (Game 5, 1994)

Mark Boyle: “The Knicks were a really strong defensive team. And they had a nice lead going into the fourth quarter. And, you thought it was over.”

Reggie (on Spike): “You pay a lot of money for those seats … OK, you’re gonna be part of the game now … He became part of the game.”

Spike Lee: “I had never ever had any interplay with an athlete before like that. Ever.” *cut to footage of Spike and Scottie Pippen getting into it*

Ahmad Rashad (on Spike): “If you go to playgrounds across the country, there’s always one little guy who can’t play very well, but he stands over there and talks all the crap. He’s the instigator.”

Spike Lee: “I didn’t mind the choke sign, but to grab his nuts. My wife’s sitting right there. C’mon.”

Reggie Miller: “I remember going to the Davis boys and Rik and saying ‘You guys just set screens. I’m gonna make everything.'”

Herb Williams: “I think if Spike had of just sat there and not said nothing, Reggie might have missed his next ten shots.”

Marv Albert: “He had two games going. He had one with Spike. And he had one with the Knicks.”

Larry Brown: “I think as soon as he got over half court, he was in range.”

Spike Lee (on the following game, Game 6): “I’m praying to God, because I know, we lose this game, it’s gonna be hard for me to live in New York City.”

On 8 points in 8.9 Seconds (Game 1, 1995)

Donnie Walsh: “Mel Daniels started banging on the door, and he said ‘Donnie, Reggie just tied the game up.’ And I said ‘Stop screwing with me — I’m not in the mood.'”

Ahmad Rashad: “…presence of mind to not take the two — to step back and take the three. Now that takes … huge … … balls … to do that.”

John Starks: “I’m walking to the free-throw line and I’m thinking, like, ‘Man, did this dude just did this?'”

Greg Anthony: “I had never heard the Garden that quiet. We’ve had shootarounds at the Garden when there was no one there but the janitors, and it wasn’t that quiet.”

Mark Jackson: “We watched John’s eyes. And he wanted no parts of those foul shots.”

Spike Lee (on Anthony Mason fouling Reggie): “Our basketball IQ is not the highest.”

Jeff Van Gundy: “That sequence was the biggest meltdown that I can remember ever seeing in the NBA.”

Reggie Miller: “The joy of them choking, and that satisfaction of doing it in New York? John missing two free-throws at home? That’s the joy of it.

On Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead (Game 7, 1995)

Antonio Davis: “It’s the Garden. It’s New York. You’re just so fired up. You can’t sleep. You can’t eat. You just wanna play.”

Byron Scott: “Rik Smits hadn’t said anything for six games, and we got in our huddle, and Rik Smits said ‘Let’s go out and kick their ass.’ That was it. We was like, ‘Ahh, it’s on.'”

Cheryl Miller: “Going back to New York, no way they win it. I thought it was done. I thought it was over.”

Peter Vecsey: “It was gonna be done again and it was gonna be done in Madison Square Garden … Manifest Destiny.”

Ahmad Rashad: “The whole city of New York was involved. Patrick Ewing. Reggie Miller. The Knicks. The Pacers, their arch-rivals. And it was their peak — their chance. And it hinged on one play.”

Rik Smits: “I’m thinking ‘Wow. The same thing is happening over again. We’re gonna lose.'”

Patrick Ewing (on his failed finger roll): “I see the ball hit — Ba-dupe … Ba-dupe.”

Charles Smith: “That shot put the lid on the basket for all of our careers moving forward.”

Mark Boyle: “Ding dong the witch is dead.”

On Other Stuff

Peter Vecsey: “We used to call it Nap City — probably still is called Nap City — because most players, when they get there, they do go to sleep and wait for the game.”

Spike Lee: “The first season tickets I had, I got the day after we got Patrick Ewing in the Draft.”

Reggie Miller: “Larry Brown is a perfectionist in an imperfect game. You always hear him say ‘Play the Right Way.’ During it? You couldn’t stand him. We all couldn’t stand him. But, in a sense, he was bringing us closer together as a team, because we were all ‘Hey, we can’t stand the coach, but we got to do the right thing.'”

Cheryl Miller: “I didn’t even know Indiana had an NBA team. I didn’t even know they had a franchise.”

Mark Jackson (on being traded from the Clippers the Pacers): “That’s probably the first time somebody was thrilled to move from LA to Indiana.”

Some young, unidentified Pacers fan: “I shaved my head. And … painted it.”

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Tags: Ahmad Rashad Antonio Davis Byron Scott Charles Smith Cheryl Miller Dan Klores Donnie Walsh Greg Anthony Herb Williams Jeff Van Gundy John Starks Larry Brown Mark Boyle Mark Jackson Marv Albert New York Knicks Patrick Ewing Peter Vecsey Reggie Miller Rik Smits Spike Lee Winning Time

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