While Miller carved out a long and lucrative career, he didn’t exactly boast a complete skill set. In fact, he made nearly $100 million because of his ability to do one thing at an elite level.
Mike Miller carved out a 17-year career as a 3-point specialist
Originally the fifth overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft, Mike Miller joined the Orlando Magic after a standout career at the University of Florida. At 6-foot-8, 218 pounds, he boasted tremendous length for the small forward position. The Magic didn’t draft him for his defense, though. Instead, they made Miller a lottery pick because of his 3-point shooting range.
As a rookie, Miller shot 40.7 percent from downtown. But midway through his third year in Orlando, the Magic traded the sharpshooting forward to the Memphis Grizzlies. The move turned out to be a career-changer. Miller developed a reputation as one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters for a franchise that quickly became a playoff contender.
During his time with the Grizzlies, Miller shot an incredible 42 percent from behind the arc. Eventually, he took his talents to South Beach to join forces with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Miller excelled as a 3-point specialist off the bench. In three seasons in Miami, he hit 41.2 percent of his attempts from 3-point territory while winning two championship rings.
Following the 2016-17 season, Mike Miller retired with a career 3-point shooting percentage of 40.7. That mark, along with his 1,590 3-pointers made, ranks 27th in NBA history.
Two-time NBA champion made $98 million
If you’re going to be elite at a particular skill, you better make sure you’re well-compensated for it. In the case of Mike Miller, he turned his 3-point shooting prowess into an incredibly lucrative NBA career. According to Spotrac, he earned $98.5 million across 17 seasons.
Interestingly, the shooting specialist never hit the double-digit mark. He did, though, make a nice living as a mid-tier player. Miller’s best paydays came with the Grizzlies. About a third of his career earnings came from his days in Memphis.
Despite his status as one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters of all time, Miller’s highest salary totaled just $9.75 million. He made $3.5 million in his final season when he averaged just 1.5 points in 20 appearances with the Denver Nuggets.
Miller recently stepped down from his coaching job at Memphis
Following his long and lucrative playing career, Mike Miller didn’t stray far from the game. In April 2018, former NBA star Penny Hardaway hired him as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis. He turned into a terrific recruiter for the Tigers. However, ESPN recently reported that Miller stepped down from his position to focus on his family.
“The past two years have been amazing, and I have so many people to thank: Coach Hardaway for believing in me, all our players for their commitment, the University of Memphis and its incredible fans, my wonderful wife and kids, and the entire city of Memphis for everything you have done for me and my family. All of you made this opportunity possible for me, and I’m truly grateful,” Miller tweeted.
Mike Miller may have finally stepped away from the game, but given his son, Mason, is part of the 2021 recruiting class, he may be back in the headlines again.