This year’s class was announced Monday in New Orleans, hours before the NCAA title game between Kentucky and Kansas. Other prominent new members are Don Nelson, Jamaal Wilkes and Ralph Sampson, all with ties to the Golden State Warriors.
Miller played his entire 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers, scoring 25,279 points. He somehow was overlooked last year, when the inductees included Chris Mullin – and Dennis Rodman.
“It’s a humbling experience, obviously,” Miller said at a news “To be part of this exclusive club is special. It’s a proud day for me. It’s special for me. I get a chance to join Cheryl, the first brother-sister act in the Hall of Fame. She was a role model.”
Miller’s sister, Cheryl, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995 for her exploits in women’s basketball.
Miller is 14th on the all-time scoring list and was the all-time leader in 3-pointers with 2,560 until he was surpassed late last season by Ray Allen.
The spindly shooting guard, now an analyst for TNT, is best known for his clutch postseason shooting. He scored 25 points in the fourth quarter of a Game Five victory at New York in the 1994 Eastern Conference finals and eight points in 8.9 seconds to lead a miraculous comeback in Game One of the 1995 conference semifinals, also at New York.
In Game Four of the 1998 conference finals, his buzzer-beater shot down the mighty Chicago Bulls and evened the series at two games each.
“Reggie’s career speaks for itself, but he ranks at the top with any player at making end-of-game shots,” Pacers president Larry Bird said. “I was fortunate enough to see it first-hand as a coach and his ability and leadership helped drive this franchise to another level.”
Miller was among five members elected by the North American Committee. Nelson, Sampson, Wilkes and referee Hank Nichols were the others.
Nelson is the all-time leader in coaching victories with 1,335 compiled with Milwaukee (1976-87), Golden State (1988-95 & 2006-10), New York (1995-96) and Dallas (1997-2005). His innovations included the point forward and Hack-a-Shaq and is one of just two coaches to win Coach of the Year three times.
Sampson probably could have been elected merely on his accomplishments at University of Virginia, where he was a three-time Naismith Award winner as Player of the Year. He was the top overall pick in the 1983 draft by Houston, won the 1984 Rookie of the Year award and twice made the All-Star team.
The 7-4 Sampson’s NBA career was limited by injuries. In 456 games with Houston, Golden State, Sacramento and Washington, he averaged 15.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He helped the Rockets reach the 1986 NBA Finals.
Wilkes won two championships and one All-America honor at UCLA before being taken 11th overall in the 1974 draft by Golden State. He was Rookie of the Year in 1975 as he helped the Warriors win the championship and was named an All-Star the following year.
In 1977, he signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he received two All-Star berths and helped win three titles over the next eight years. In 12 years with the Warriors, Lakers and LA Clippers, he averaged 17.7 points and 6.2 rebounds over 828 games.
Former Pacer Mel Daniels was elected from the ABA Committee. He was a Rookie of the Year, two-time ABA MVP and is the ABA’s fourth-leading scorer and all-time leading rebounder. He also was Western Athletic Conference MVP at New Mexico in 1967.
“I’m honored because I’m the second Indiana Pacer behind the No. 1 Pacer (Daniels),” said Miller.
Chet Walker was elected from the Veterans Committee. Walker missed just 21 games in a 13-year career that included seven All-Star berths with the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls. He was a starting forward on the 1966-67 76ers, regarded as one of the greatest teams of all time.
Don Barksdale was elected from the Early African-American Pioneers Committee. He was the first African-American player to win NCAA All-America honors, earn an Olympic gold medal and receive an NBA All-Star Game berth.
The Women’s Committee elected two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain and the All-American Red Heads, a pro barnstorming team that played for six decades.
Nike CEO Phil Knight was elected from the Contributor Committee and Russian coach Lidia Alexeeva was elected from the International Committee.