Every team needs a little bit of crazy, says the basketball Hall of Famer and TNT analyst. Was he that guy all those years in the Indiana locker room? Barkley probably votes yes.
DAN PATRICK:Is Michael Jordan's shadow good for the NBA?
REGGIE MILLER: I will always say yes. Isn't baseball identified by the Yankees? For the NBA it's gotta be about Jordan.
DP:But Jordan is everywhere. Either his image or his legend.
RM: As he should [be]. He was a transcendent athlete. He ushered in the long shorts, the short socks, the calf sleeve ... the swagger, tongue out. A lot of people grew up with Michael Jordan. That's why there's an affinity toward him.
DP:What would you do if you were Derek Fisher—play one more year or coach?
RM: It's time for him to take the next step and be a coach.
DP:Should he take the Knicks' or the Lakers' job?
RM: Either. He could learn under Phil Jackson in New York. He would be great in the spotlight of the New York media. Or come home to a place where he's won championships and coach his good friend Kobe Bryant.
DP:What happened to your former team, the Pacers?
RM: I was very disappointed over the last 2½ months of the season. This is a team that had championship aspirations and could have pushed the Heat a little bit more. To me, the Heat yawned through [the Eastern Conference finals].
DP:Would you have let Lance Stephenson do to you what he did to LeBron James?
RM: I probably would have laughed it off like LeBron. Because I knew [Stephenson] couldn't [back it up]. I give him all the credit for trying. He tried something. If Paul George had the attitude of Lance Stephenson, he'd be on par with LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Lance has the killer instinct. He just doesn't have the game.
DP:Is he a little crazy?
RM: You gotta have a little bit of crazy on your team. Birdman is that for the Heat. Gregg Popovich is that for the Spurs. You go back to every NBA championship team, they all had one person where you said, I ain't saying crap to that dude.
DP:Have you talked to Larry Bird?
LB: No, I haven't. I'd be scared to talk to Larry right now. That would be like trying to talk to your father after you know you've done something wrong. He's fuming.
DP:Do you know who had more three-point attempts, Jordan or Charles Barkley?
RM: Michael, I would assume.
DP:Barkley with 2,020. Jordan had 1,778.
RM: Fat boy, get your behind in the paint. That's a disgrace.... Maybe that's why he's in the same boat with me, ringless.¬±
ESPN broadcaster Mark Jackson argued that Miami's Chris Bosh will be a Hall of Famer: "The guy's a nine-time All-Star. He's at least a two-time champ. We take him for granted, but when you look at his body of work, it's going to certainly say Hall of Fame." ... NBC NFL analyst Tony Dungy weighed in on Browns rookie Johnny Manziel's visiting Las Vegas. "If you're going to take Johnny Manziel," Dungy said, "you gotta take everything that goes with it. I've coached guys like that. And some guys have done very well. That still remains to be seen [with Manziel]." ... I asked Dr. James Andrews what the next big thing would be in sports medicine. "Biologics," Andrews said. "That means stem cell therapy, gene therapy, tissue engineering. That will hopefully enable us to really turn ligament healing on.... That's not a performance-enhancing move, that's a healing properties move."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
BRIAN SPURLOCK/USA TODAY SPORTS (MILLER)
ANDREW D. BERNSTEIN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (JACKSON)
LM OTERO/AP (DUNGY)
AL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (ANDREWS)