May 25, 1998 - The Indiana Pacers are in danger of going down 3-1, in the Eastern Conference Finals, to the defending champion Chicago Bulls.
With 2.9 seconds left, the Pacers inbound the ball, down one point, 94-93. Ron Harper guards Reggie Miller underneath the basket. As the play starts, Miller runs through two staggered screens, losing Harper on the first. Michael Jordan notices, then steps in front of Miller to pick him up.
Reggie Miller pushes off Michael Jordan.
Derrick McKey throws a perfect pass, as Reggie curls around the 3PT line. Miller catches, takes two steps rounding to face the basket, stays behind the line, shoots, fades, and buries it. Pacers 96, Bulls 94. 0.7 seconds left. Timeout, Chicago.
After instant replays of the shot, NBC shows replays Reggie running down court, celebrating wildly, followed by Pacers head coach, Larry Bird, watching and “reacting” to the game-winning shot from the sideline.
Detroit Piston great, Isiah Thomas, worked the game as a broadcaster for NBC. Here is his call of the replay:
You’re coming off that screen, you catch it, you square up, and you let it go. And the adrenaline that’s going through your body right now, it’s hard for you to really contain yourself. Look at his emotions. He doesn’t know what to do, because so much juice is going through your body. You’re so happy. You see he’s looking like he’s ready to cry.
…and you look at Larry Bird, who’s been there before. Nothing to it. I’ve done that about 20 times in my career. Come back over here, fellas.
That is the Greatest Reaction in NBA History. Bar none.
Larry’s. Not Reggie’s.