"I hope America and the nation embraces this team."
As millions of fans watched the Oklahoma City Thunder close out the Western Conference Finals, stringing together four increasingly improbable victories over a San Antonio Spurs team that had won 20 in a row, Reggie Miller uttered these words to a delirious nation of NBA watchers. Though the thought was both dim and empty, it was also unnecessary. Anyone who has borne witness to the past four games (or six, really) has became completely infatuated with this Thunder team, which has beaten 10 of the last 13 NBA champions during this playoff run. Miller simply couldn't let the moment speak for itself. The good news is, we are completely done with him for another five months.
The bad news is, Reggie Miller will be back. As Joe Morgan taught us, indescribably bad announcers only go away once you've stopped caring about when it happens. As Tim McCarver continues to teach us on a weekly basis, the best way to survive is to laugh at the ineptitude. Reggie Miller doesn't provide anything remotely resembling comedy. He doesn't have an old-man shtick to fall back on, and he doesn't even play the role of forced contrarian to any acceptable degree. He just apparently exists to worsen the TNT telecast. I wish we expected more from our broadcasters than just hoping some Caltech whiz codes up a mute filter that could be applied to Miller like he was a World Cup vuvuzela. Apparently, science hasn't cracked this nut just yet.
The true shame of soul-crushingly bad announcers is that while many fans will lament the absence of one more game in this Spurs-Thunder series, we should really be thankful it ended when it did. Reggie Miller working a Game 7—this Game 7—would've been insufferable beyond words. As the two teams executed a sublime display of basketball skill, Miller's dumbness would've approached DEFCON 1 levels. We should consider ourselves lucky we got out when we did. The fallout from this won't be as bad.