Reggie Miller "confessed" that he got away with a foul during the most famous sequence of his career but justified his action with the unimpeachable, "But Michael Jordan did it all the time!" defense. The confession/explanation sequence was the clear highlight of the 2012 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass., on Friday.
During the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Knicks, Miller famously scored eight points in nine seconds to push his Indiana Pacers to a shocking victory. After nailing a 3-pointer over John Starks, Miller stole the ensuing inbounds pass, knocking down Knicks guard Greg Anthony in the process, before stepping back to hit another 3-pointer to tie the game at 105. Watch video of the play below.
On Friday, Miller admitted that he should have been called for a foul during the sequence and even issued an apology to Anthony, joking that the play was one of his basketball "sins."
"I've got to say here, in 1995, as you saw in the video, yeah, I pushed," Miller said. "I'm sorry. The ref didn't call it. I went with it. Like Magic [Johnson] says, 'By any means necessary.' So I apologize, Greg. I've never said that publicly. So, Greg, I shoved you and I kept you down."
He then immediately shifted gears to call out Jordan for shoving defenders throughout his career.
"To my fierce rival in the Central Division, yeah, Michael, I did push you too. But I've seen you do it so many other times to so many other players. I figured it was OK."
Known for his trash talking almost as much as his shot-making, Miller then explained why he never jawed at Jordan, also a well-known on-court yakker.
"A lot of people say, 'Why didn't you ever talk to Michael Jordan?' It's like, 'Do you want that tongue coming out at you?'"
He then recounted the story of a preseason game during his rookie season. At halftime, Miller remembered, he had 10 points and Jordan had eight. In the locker room, Pacers teammate Chuck Person encouraged Miller to engage Jordan verbally.
"My mouth is moving, I'm jawing at MJ. I remember Michael coming out in the third quarter. Michael ended with 40. I ended with 12. That's when I knew I better step up my game and let my game do the talking."
Here's video of Miller's famous shove on Anthony via YouTube user NBA.