Cheryl Miller is more than a former women’s basketball player. She’s the older sister of NBA star Reggie Miller and MLB catcher Darrell Miller. Cheryl played her college ball at USC, was the inspiration for the film “Love and Basketball,” is the current head coach of the Cal State Los Angeles Golden Bears and is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
She’s lived the life of a GOAT despite being known as a Trojan.
The HBO documentary “Women of Troy” details Miller’s ascension to basketball glory. She was the best women’s player before the WNBA existed. Her popularity helped create the storied professional women’s league.
In fact, Reggie Miller admits his sister was a better player than he was.
Reggie Miller’s Sister Cheryl Miller
The firstborn daughter of Saul and Carrie Miller, Cheryl D. Miller set the example in athletics for her younger brothers from a young age.
The legend was born in Riverside, California. From a young age, Cheryl dominated on the court. She led Riverside Polytechnic High School to a 132-4 record, posting ridiculous numbers along the way. Miller joined the University of Southern California women’s basketball team in 1982 and started all four seasons.
Miller revolutionized women’s basketball. Her electric play, work ethic and precision shooting brought national attention to the women’s sport for the first time. Miller recorded the first-ever dunk in a women’s game, inspiring future dunkers like Lisa Leslie and Brittany Griner. Her dominant play was an awards magnet.
Miller won two NCAA Tournaments (plus two MVPs), gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, gold at the inaugural 1986 Moscow Goodwill Games, gold at the 1986 FIBA World Championships, four All-American nods and three Naismith College Player of the Year awards during her four-year college career. The United States Basketball League (USBL) tried to draft Miller after her college career. It’s worth noting the USBL is a men’s league.
She immediately joined the coaching staff at USC as an assistant when a knee injury ended her playing career in 1986. She took over the head coaching position five years later. She coached her Trojans to multiple NCAA tournaments before jumping to WNBA in 1997. The women’s league had only been founded the year before, in part because of Cheryl’s legacy.
Miller was the first female analyst to call an NBA game in 1996. Since then, she’s lent her voice to the NBA on TNT, NBA TV, ABC Sports, ESPN, TBS Sports, and the 2K Sports’ NBA 2K video game series. Beyond basketball, Miller has commentated for the Little League World Series and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
After a nearly 15-year coaching hiatus, Miller returned to the sidelines in 2014. She coached for Langston University in Oklahoma from 2014-2016. Then, she moved back to SoCal for California State Los Angeles. Miller is the Golden Bears’ head coach in 2021.
Cheryl Miller is a hero on the court if only an unsung hero. Many basketball fans are unaware of Cheryl. That’s due to the fame of her well-known little brother, Reggie.
Reggie Miller’s NBA Career
Reginald Wayne Miller is a former professional basketball player and current Hall of Famer. He’s known for killing the New York Knicks, making three-pointers cool and scoring eight points in nine seconds (again, sorry Knicks).
Reggie played his high school career at Riverside Polytech, just like his sister. Unlike Cheryl, he chose the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) over USC. He finished his college career as UCLA’s second all-time leading scorer behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In the National Basketball Association, Miller played his entire career with the Indiana Pacers. Between 1987 and his 2005 retirement, Miller attended one NBA Finals, made five All-Star teams and was named All-NBA three times.
Miller always wanted to beat the best player in the world, but he could never even beat the best player in his household.
Reggie Miller won an Olympic Gold medal. Cheryl was a broadcaster at the 96 Atlanta Games, where Reggie won the gold. Miller entered the booth following his NBA career. Working for TNT and ESPN, Miller has always been a step behind his older sister.
Who Was Better: Reggie or Cheryl?
Reggie Miller is famously competitive. His older sister Cheryl may have played a role in that.
She taught him everything he knows about basketball by habitually beating young Reggie over and over again when they were children. Cheryl’s dominance made Reggie Miller better.
During one high school game, he scored over 40 points. Proud of his accomplishments, he bragged to Cheryl about his record when he got home. Cheryl had a match that evening, too, so Reggie asked how many points she scored, looking to rub his stats in her face. Reggie ate his hot hand when Cheryl announced she’d scored 105 points that evening (in a single game).
Cheryl Miller has two NCAA Championships. Reggie Miller has none. Cheryl has three Naismith Awards. Reggie, zero. Cheryl is considered the Michael Jordan of women’s basketball. Reggie could never defeat the Michael Jordan of men’s basketball (or the rest of the Chicago Bulls, either). It’s clear who the better Miller is. Just don’t ask Reggie.
Reggie, in his own way, recognizes his sister’s greatness as much as anyone. In interviews, he confirms the importance of her mentorship on his career. He’s blasted her alma mater for not giving her a large enough banner, finding a way to promote their cross-town rival (and his former school) the UCLA Bruins along the way.
From brotherly competition to brotherly love, Miller owes a lot to his sister. Nobody knows that better than Cheryl Miller.