Reggie Miller blamed the lack of defense in the All-Star Game on Millennials, because of course he did. When we hear things like this, it’s time to fire up the old archive machine and see what comes up in the 1990’s when searching for All-Star Games and defense (and Reggie Miller). Enjoy.
As it turns out, All-Stars have been mostly indifferent for awhile, even those who aren’t millennials. Some even once tried to go by the nickname “Hollywood.”
From 1990, Orlando Sentinel:
Defense? That’s for games that count, the players say. The All-Star Game is regarded by the players as being the ultimate pick-up contest.
“There is not that much strategy to it,” said Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson, who will lead the West squad. “We are entertainers, and in this game, we will be out to entertain.”
That means there will be lots of thrills and spills. Great athletes such as Magic, Michael Jordan, Dominque Wilkins and Akeem Olajuwon will try to make moves and shots that are more spectacular than the feats they pull off in regular games. For this game, no move will be considered to be too outrageous, no shot second-guessed. The players will be like elementary school kids whose teacher has stepped out of the classroom – anything goes.
A first-time All-Star named Reggie Miller added the following, via LA Times in 1990:
“My act has been toned down, but I’m still flashy and I’m still Hollywood. Reggie (Hollywood) Miller–that’s my nickname. I’m still going to be Hollywood. That’s how I am.
“The things I do, they haven’t seen, because Midwesterners are Midwesterners. So I like to bring a little flash.”
“I’m going to try to do something spectacular, of course. I’m going to do something I really wouldn’t do in a regular game because it’s the All-Star game. I’m going to try to do something out of the ordinary. I’m not going to do anything regular now. When I shoot threes, I’ll probably be a step farther back than I normally would, just to make the crowd go ‘Oooh’ and ‘Aaah.’ “
From Los Angeles Times, 1993, in regard to an All-Star Game that was actually praised for defense at the very end when the teams went to overtime and put in some effort in the final minutes:
“No. 1, I never play defense in these games,” Barkley said. “I wasn’t involved in all the defense all these guys say they were playing.
“Two thousand dollars ain’t going to make or break me. I’m here to enjoy myself. I never take this game seriously unless it’s close in the final minutes. I’m on spring break this week.”
From USA Today, 1996. Phil Jackson was coaching a team that included Reggie Miller:
“I told them we had to win with defense,” East coach Phil Jackson said with a smile. “They laughed at me. Defense isn’t what they were here for.”
From Dallas Morning News, 1996:
The 46th annual NBA All-Star Game will tip off Sunday afternoon at 5:38 at the Alamodome. This is a chance for the league’s best and brightest to showcase their skills in a game in which defense is an afterthought.
“The All-Star Game is the ultimate pickup game,” Indiana’s Reggie Miller said. “I think guys really get up for that.”
From UPI, 1996:
”In that second half there was no defense — usually there’s no defense (in All-Star games), but there was NO defense,” [David] Robinson said. ”In this kind of game you want to keep it close so you can win it, but we went down by 20 points. When you go down by 20, it’s hard to make things work like you want them to.”
From current FS1 contributor Rob Parker, Newsday, 1997:
Still, you wish there was a way the players could honestly play the game the way it’s supposed to be played – all out. Instead of intensity, you get smiles, hugs and pats on the butt. There’s little defense played. World B. Free would look like a defensive whiz out there. And even the scoring – and usually there’s a lot of that going on – doesn’t seem natural. There’s too much Harlem Globetrotters offense. The only thing missing from the trick plays is the bucket of confetti and the overweight referee. At least with the Globetrotters, it’s funny.
Damn millennials. They don’t take the game as seriously as Reggie “Hollywood” Miller.