Playing with former Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan was tough. Playing against him was even tougher. His competitive drive was unmatched, and he wasn’t going to stop until he won. Perhaps nobody felt that wrath more than former Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller.
Both NBA stars loved to trash talk and probably respect their places in history, but neither liked each other. It dates back all the way to Miller’s rookie season and still continues today, albeit with a touch more respect. The Hall of Fame sharpshooter told The Dan Patrick Show that he didn’t want to participate in ESPN’s “The Last Dance” and “might punch him” if he saw His Airness in person.
Reluctantly, and basically forced by the league office and other parties, Miller, who was still bitter about the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, did the interview for “The Last Dance” and his feuds with MJ were featured in the 10-part documentary series, but not in the way Miller had thought previously.
The penultimate episode of the long-awaited Chicago Bulls docu-series by ESPN opens with one specific altercation, that stands above the rest.
After the documentary aired, tempers cooled and Miller has changed his tune on the man he refers to as “Black Jesus.” But that doesn’t mean the fierce competition and high-profile altercations are easily forgotten about. But that doesn’t mean fans don’t remember what went down in 1993.
Michael Jordan vs. Reggie Miller Fight in 1993
Since both players are long retired, it’s probably safe to say the dust has settled some, but grudges can still exist. In this case, they might never go away.
Back in February 1993, the Bulls traveled to Indianapolis to face the Pacers at Market Square Arena, and Jordan was the league’s top attraction. Everyone wanted a glimpse at the game’s biggest and brightest star.
Early in the first half, though, Miller bumped Jordan after a fast break and all hell broke loose.
Jordan didn’t like the bump at all. Within seconds, he was in Miller’s face, talking smack, and the two needed separating. Jordan shoved Miller’s face and even threw a punch before he was pulled away.
Do you want to guess who got ejected for the fight? You’re right. It was only Reggie Miller. The great Michael Jordan never even got called for a foul.
“We both start fighting. We both throw blows. How do I get tossed out in my building and he goes on to score [40 points]?” Miller told The Dan Patrick Show. “But still, I get thrown out of my building in Indiana and Black Jesus, the Golden Boy, who was obviously the No. 1 draw. Okay. I get it. I knew everyone came to see him…but how do I get thrown out?”
The Bulls ended up winning the game, 115-104. Jordan went on to score 40 points, while Scottie Pippen added 30. Miller went to the showers early after scoring just four points.
The NBA eventually suspended Jordan for one game (against the New York Knicks) and fined him $10,000. Miller was slapped with a $6,000 fine as well. However, the damage was already done.
Miller recognizes Jordan’s greatness and understands they were never on “equal footing” during their careers. But the All-Star shooting guard was never going to “bow down” to him like “a lot of players” did, according to The Dan Patrick Show. He actually liked the battles from the regular season or in the playoffs to decide who played in the NBA Finals.
“A lot of stuff” went down between the two basketball players. Some of it we may never know. That fight is only part of it but will remain the crowning moment of their feud in the 1990s.
How did MJ respond to being shown a video of the fight during “The Last Dance?” Take a look and decide for yourself.
And while Miller may not feel that Jordan respects him in the way the Indiana Guard feels he should be, Jordan did give Miller’s Pacers credit for being a pesky team that always brought the thunder to their matchups.
“If I had to pick a team that gave us the toughest time in the East, Indiana was probably the toughest, outside of Detroit. They were tough. Every time I’d go in that f***ing game and come out, I’d have a new scratch,” Jordan commented when discussing their 1998 Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
And like most things audiences witnessed Jordan go through in “The Last Dance,” MJ added, “It became personal for me.”