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How Reggie, Cheryl Miller used to hustle playground games

Sep 7, 2012, 1:01 PM EDT

Reggie Cheryl Miller

By the end of Friday night, Reggie and Cheryl Miller will be the first ever brother/sister combination enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. In fact, Cheryl will be on stage presenting Reggie when he makes his speech.

That gives me a good reason to tell my favorite Miller family story, one Cheryl Miller first told to People Magazine back in 1982 and Reggie recounted in his 1990s book “I Love Being The Enemy.”

The Millers grew up in Riverside, Calif., which is in the Inland Empire about a 40-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles (if there is no traffic, and good luck with that). He and Cheryl grew up on the playground games in that area (Reggie says shooting over Cheryl’s length led to the rainbow arc on his shots).

And the two used to run a little hustle in those playground games. Here is how Miller put it in his book:

“Back in the fifth and sixth grades, we’d go to the courts at John Adams Elementary or Hunt Park and hustle two-on-two games. We had it down to a science. It was the best hustle scam in Riverside, California.

“I’d tell Cheryl to hide in the bushes, and then I’d go up to a couple of older kids and arrange a game. ‘You guys want to play?’ I’d said. ‘I’m by myself … unless you count my sister.’

“Then I’d whistle, and Cheryl would come out from behind the bushes looking like she didn’t know a thing about basketball. You could see the two other guys looking at each other like, ‘Oh, my God, this is going to be easy.’

“We’d play for ten dollars; the first team to 10 by ones would win the money. Then we’d get down, 5-0, double the bet, and then take care of business. I’d look at Cheryl, she’d look at me, we’d wink, and then … 10-5 us, and on our way to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal.”

Miller was clutch even then. Really, Millers. Both of them.

I just love that story.

  1. pikindaguy - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Sounds like the plot for White Men Can’t Jump

  2. spellingcopfather - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Haha gotta love there hustle, but for happy meals? Reggie Miller always look as if he never eats, its all love tho Reggie!!

  3. phillyphan93 - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Keep bringing the Miller articles!

  4. money2long - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    i wonder if cheryl in her prime is better than an nba scrub.

  5. karlton2 - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    My favorite Reggie/Cheryl story is the one about them competing in High School. Apparently, there were nights they both had basketball games at different locations and they would compete for bragging rights about who scored more points when they returned home.

    One night, Reggie absolutely dominated to the tune of 40+ points. Feeling cocky, he returned home bragging. Encouraged by Cheryl’s silence as to his impending victory, he continued to push the issue until Cheryl finally informed him that she had scored 105 points that evening, effectively winning bragging rights for life.

  6. glink123 - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Cheryl Miller, in her prime, would start for several current NBA teams, efftard.

    • money2long - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      efftard? what’s with the animosity ?

    • HitsDingers - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      The idea that Cheryl Miller would start for any NBA team, even the Bobcats, at any point in her life, is laughable.

      • cosanostra71 - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

        I think its certainly possible she could have sniffed the bench on a few teams. Certainly, she’d be a step lower athletically than your normal NBA player but there are some rather unathletic NBA players who still seem to do well because they can play basketball well. Cheryl Miller could play basketball well.

    • drunkenjunk - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      you’re the fool glink. She wouldn’t sniff the end of the bench.

  7. sellahh - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Is the argument u guys r having funny or what, seriouslyyyy

  8. fotydaze - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Congrats on hof induction reggie but your story is crap. You and cheryl were born in 65 & 64 so 5th and 6th grades for you should have been 1975. The happy meal was introduced nationally in 1979 when you would have been in 9th & 10th grades

    • phaden27 - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      Well… look at the brain on Foty

  9. teambringitstrong - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Congrats on hof induction reggie but your story is crap. You and cheryl were born in 65 & 64 so 5th and 6th grades for you should have been 1975. The happy meal was introduced nationally in 1979 when you would have been in 9th & 10th grades
    Actually, sonnnnnnn, I would venture to say while it may have been introduced nationally in 1979, we typically have access to products, services in southern California years before you also rans in the rest of the country.

  10. clippernation365 - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    teambringitstrong has a good point, I’m sure none of you have had Taco Bell’s Doritos cool ranch taco!

  11. jebdamone - Sep 7, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    that is f’in awesome.

  12. fotydaze - Sep 7, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Look it up!!!

  13. nygdriveforfive - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    My fav Miller story is when Reggie was skizzzzing on some rich dudes wife and the rich guy hired a plane to fly a banner to tell Reggie to back off.

  14. seanb20124 - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    5th and 6 th graders in the 70’s did not have $10 to bet on.

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