Are we just rooting for laundry?
Initially I met this rumor with ambivalence. Reggie spent his whole career with the Pacers. I have always thought that was very special considering in today's professional sporting world most players spend time with multiple teams. His playoff exploits are stuff of local legend, a legend that wholly belongs to Indianapolis sports fans.
But Reggie, like most the great players of his era, didn't win it all. Playing during the time of Michael Jordan excluded many of the NBA greats of that time from ever experiencing the ultimate in victory-- an NBA championship. With a cushy commentator job and a career filled with great moments a chance to win the ultimate prize would be the only reason Reggie would consider a return to the NBA.
All this would be contingent on a couple of factors. One Reggie would have to get out of his contract at TNT. With Mark Cuban as the owner of the Mavericks you have to assume that he could pull the strings necessary to get any of the legal issues out of the way. And two, would Reggie even want to play again? The article notes that he has remained in excellent shape. Personally I don't think Reggie retired because of his physical condition. I think he might have seen the writing on the wall with the Pacer's troubles and thought it best to hang it up rather than deal with the headaches.
The first thing I thought of when I heard this was how weird Reggie would look in another uniform. I thought of how Chicagoans must of felt during the two years Michael Jordan played for the Wizards. Did people there meet him with hatred because he no longer played for the Bulls? Was Jerry Seinfeld right: are we really just rooting for laundry?
The answer in most cases is yes. Just look at how fans have treated Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson upon their return to Conseco Fieldhouse. But in Miller's case it certainly would be different. Just like most Chicagoans didn't let a different uniform take away from Jordan's six championships for the city, if Reggie returns for another team a simple uniform change won't take away all that he accomplished for the Pacers. It certainly won't take away from all his great charitable work and what he meant to fans of all ages in this city during his career.
My gut is telling me that it is just a rumor and there is no truth to it. But if Reggie returns and wears a different uniform to once again chase that ring, I don't care. Assuming the Pacers don't pull it together and come out of the Eastern Conference, I think you would be hard pressed to find a fan in this town who wouldn't be cheering like mad for him if he did un-retire and made it back to the NBA finals. But more importantly, Reggie Miller is and always will be a Pacer no matter if he wears a different uniform for a few months or not.