Indiana Pacers backcourt mate Mark Jackson spoke out on the fact that the Indiana Pacers don’t have a statue of Reggie Miller outside of BLF
Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller is a Hall of Famer, a five-time All-Star, an Eastern Conference Champion, and is the only Pacers player to have spent his entire career in the NBA era to have his number retired by the team.
Miller leads the franchise all-time in points, steals, assists, 3-point field goals, and games/minutes played. He was the key piece that led the Pacers to the NBA Finals in 2000, and the player to lift the organization out of the desolate place that they had been stuck in since facing financial struggles in their final few years as an ABA team and first several years as an NBA team.
The Paul George era and the era Pacers fans enjoy today does not exist as we know it without Reggie Miller. A franchise that was threatened with the need to relocate multiple times after joining the NBA, Miller proved the Pacers could be successful in the NBA, and more importantly, in Indiana.
Though his number is retired, his former teammate, Mark Jackson, doesn’t think that’s enough recognition for all that Miller has done for the organization.
“To me it’s criminal — when you look at, whether it be Madison Square Garden or Indiana to not have a statue — especially in Indiana, to not have a statue of Reggie Miller outside of that building is a crime. He is Mr. Indiana Pacer he did everything that you need to do to identify with greatness and an example for your organization. It is long overdue and well deserved.”
Jackson manned the starting backcourt with Miller in the 1999-00 season where the Pacers went to the NBA Finals and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. No one has seen Miller’s work up close like Jackson.
Technically, Jackson is right, there is no Miller statue outside of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, however, Miller does have a statue at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis on the Sports Legends Avenue of Champions. Miller has been honored there directly alongside legendary coach and radio voice Slick Leonard and adjacent to Larry Bird and Tamika Catchings.
The Pacers have an extremely high bar for bestowing honors on its historic players. Even Rik Smits, a 12-year Pacer that averaged 14.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and a key piece of Miller-led teams, did not do enough to get his number retired.
It’s unlikely the Pacers erect a statue outside of their home arena anytime soon, much less of Miller. If the Pacers were to put a statue up at the arena, first they should commemorate Slick Leonard and all he did for the team. He coached the most successful ABA team in league history and is the only coach to lead the franchise to any sort of title. “529” is retired because of the franchise-leading 529 games he led the team to.
Miller is second in line, and frankly, it seems far fetched that the Pacers organization would ever commission such a statue. Focused on fundamentals and high-quality basketball, their high bar for recognition keeps expectations lofty for the organization moving forward. A jersey retirement may be all we ever see for Miller.
It’s maybe most interesting that Jackson also suggested a Miller statue at MSG. The Pacers pitching in some funds for a “choke” statue in front of the Garden’s gates would be the ultimate troll.