In the summer of 1995, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan filmed Space Jam in Los Angeles, California. On the set, he trained at the Jordan Dome and used his playoff loss to the Orlando Magic as fuel to get back on top of the basketball world.
Several star NBA players played pick-up games with the Bulls superstar at the Jordan Dome, with one of them being Indiana Pacers shooting guard Reggie Miller. Jordan, who was trying to accelerate his skills back to what they were before he retired in 1993 to play baseball, kept a close eye on Miller because he knew the sharpshooter was a good measuring stick for him.
Michael Jordan: Reggie Miller was a great measuring stick for me
Before the 1995-96 season, His Airness sat down with Cheryl Raye-Stout for a wide-ranging interview, and he talked about the famous pick-up games at the Jordan dome. The 10-time scoring champion revealed that Miller, one of the top shooters of all time, was a player he wanted to compete against so he could see what areas he needed to work on.
“You get to judge your level, your competitiveness, your skills toward some of these players, especially the players I’m used to playing against,” Jordan said. “Reggie Miller was a great measuring stick for me because we competed so much against each other. I played against him every day. Chris Mills was new. I wasn’t used to playing against Chris, and I learned how to play against him. I learned how to play against Grant Hill for a couple of days. Rod Strickland, guarding some point guards, knowing that I’d have to play some point guard.”
Black Jesus used the Jordan Dome to get his basketball skills back to where they needed to be. He also studied players such as Miller to understand their games better and become more familiar with their tendencies.
Jordan and Miller once got into a fight in 1993. However, their relationship improved over the years, so much so that the former called the latter his “brother” in the 1998 playoffs.
Michael Jordan and Reggie Miller were friendly in 1998 Eastern Conference Finals
The Bulls and Pacers faced each other in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals. Although they got into a fight and had several contentious moments, the two Hall of Famers embraced in the United Center hallway after Game 2.
“My brother,” Jordan said to Miller while hugging him. “You all right? How’s your family? It’s gonna be a battle. I knew that coming in.”
The Bulls won Games 1 and 2 of the series. However, the Pacers took Games 3 and 4 behind Miller, who hit a game-winning three-pointer in Game 4 with 0.4 seconds left in regulation. Chicago rebounded by winning Game 5, but Indiana took Game 6, setting up an epic Game 7 at the United Center.
Bulls beat Pacers by only five points in Game 7
The Bulls and Pacers played a classic Game 7 on May 31, 1998. Miller and Co. came close to upsetting Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but Chicago’s championship experience came through in the clutch.
Behind Jordan, the Bulls outscored the Pacers 19-18 in the fourth quarter. The five-time MVP scored nine points in the final period and finished with 28. Meanwhile, Miller went scoreless in the fourth. Surprisingly, he only took one shot. The five-time All-Star had 22 points, but it wasn’t enough to dethrone Jordan and the Bulls.
Superman finished his NBA career with six titles and six Finals MVP, while Miller only played in the Finals once and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000. While both guys are in the Hall of Fame, it certainly must have angered the Pacers icon to watch Jordan win six rings and not win any.