"Now kids, enough about my being the greatest 3-point shooter ever; let me tell you about the year I rode the pine to win an NBA championship."
Reggie Miller is contemplating a comeback with Boston. Why would a guy like Miller bother? Like most sports fans, I'm guessing he doesn't want to be remembered with the other guys of his era, namely Barkley, Malone, and Ewing, who were the best of their time but never got a ring. But what's the appeal of this situation? Who would do such a thing?
Of course, there is some recent precedent, with Malone and Gary Payton whoring themselves to the '05 Lakers only to get their asses handed to them by Detroit in the Finals. Payton picked up a ring the next year with Miami, but what's the significance? I'm not Gary Payton, so I don't know what it means for him to have the chance to play on a championship team. But come on, he played 20 mpg and contributed less than 6 ppg in the '06 playoffs. As fans, what do we remember Gary Payton for? World Champion 2006? Hell no, that was Wade's series. Payton was a forgettable role player, no better than Kapono or Posey. Most of us will remember the Glove from the 90's: racking up steals, dishing to Kemp, finding Detlef on the wing.
If Reggie Miller returns then, what will his legacy be? The guy who proved he could contribute 5 ppg off the bench at the age of 42 behind three of the top 12 active scorers? Or the guy who torched the Knicks at MSG for 8 points in the last 30-odd seconds of a game?
I just don't understand the ego or the competitive spirit of a star NBA player. But me, I'd rather have people remember me -- and have myself remember me -- as a guy who performed at an outstanding level and lead his team to many successes, just never the ultimate success, rather than as a wash-up who happened to join the right good team at the right time. What is a fallen star proving by winning a championship as a role player? If anything, he's just adding to the notion that he wasn't championship material and wasn't able to carry a team himself to the championship.
I just can't imagine that Gary Payton looks at his ring and says, "Wow, I really earned this... this is what I worked so hard for in the NBA." I know I wouldn't.