No player before or since has matched Cheryl Miller’s standard in women’s basketball, propelling the game into the air. Miller’s exceptional grace and athleticism left an indelible impression on her high school and college careers.
In 1982, Miller set a record for Riverside Polytechnic High School against Notre Vista High School, averaging 105 points per game. Miller’s outstanding performance helped the Olympic team win the gold medal in 1984. She was a well-known collegiate and professional athlete owing to her exceptional athleticism and engaging personality. Sports Illustrated named Miller the top collegiate basketball player in 1986. Miller scored 3,018 points in his career and was a four-time All-American. She received the Naismith Award three times, whereas the Wade Award was only given to her once.
Cheryl D. Miller was born on January 3, 1964. She is a former NBA player who is currently an analyst and reporter for NBA TV. She has previously worked as a sportscaster for ABC Sports, TBS Sports, and ESPN, as well as a sideline reporter for NBA games on TNT Sports. She was also the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury’s head coach and general manager.
Miller was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1995. She was inducted into the first class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1999. FIBA acknowledged her for her international achievements in August 2010.
From 1981 through 1985, Miller led Riverside Polytechnic High School to a 132-4 record and four letter accolades. In 1981, Dial named her Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She was the first athlete, male or female, to be awarded a Parade All-American twice, averaging 32.8 points and 15.0 rebounds per game. Street & Smith named Miller National High School Player of the Year in 1981 and 1982. She scored 105 points in Norte Vista High School in her senior year. She set state records in California for points scored in a single season and for a high school career.
She was a forward for the University of Southern California Trojans. She was a four-time All-American who finished her career with 3,018 points. She ranks eighth in NCAA history and third in rebounds. As the Naismith College Player of the Year, she received the Wade Trophy three times. Miller guided USC to NCAA titles in 1983 and 1984, collecting NCAA Tournament MVP honors in both years. Among her teammates were two-time WNBA MVP Cynthia Cooper, 1984 Olympian and All-American Pamela McGee, and Paula McGee, 1982 and 1983 All-Americans. Linda K. Sharp, one of the most accomplished college basketball coaches, coached Miller. In addition to her third Naismith Award, Miller got the Broderick Award as Female College Basketball Player of the Year and was named the finest player in college basketball, male or female, by Sports Illustrated.
Miller was the first athlete of either gender at USC to have her #31 jersey retired after receiving the James E. Sullivan Award in 1986. She was named head coach at her alma university, USC, in 1993, after the college sacked coach Marianne Stanley.
The US National Team took part in the 1983 World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The US team won six matches but lost two against the Soviet Union in this tournament. The US led the Soviet Union by nine points at halftime in the opening match, but the Soviets recovered to win 85-84, despite Miller’s 23 points. The United States team won the following four games to go to the gold medal game against the Soviet Union. Elena Chausova struck the game-winning stroke with six seconds remaining to give the USSR team gold with a score of 84-82. The United States team won the silver medal. Miller was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 17.6 points per game, trailing only rebounds (4.4 per game).
The United States National Team flew to Taipei, Taiwan, for pre-Olympic preparation in 1984. The club won all eight of its games by over 50 points on average. Miller was the team’s best scorer, averaging 15.1 points per game, the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 4.4 per game, and the team’s most steals, with 27. The US team won gold medals at both the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984 and the Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela in 1983.
Miller led the United States in scoring in the Goodwill Games in Moscow in 1986, when Kay Yow was the head coach. In the first game, the US trounced Yugoslavia 72-53, with Miller scoring 19 points, and then defeated Brazil 91-70 in the second. The Americans’ previous game was against Czechoslovakia, which was far more difficult. Miller scored 26 points as the US defeated Bulgaria in the semi-finals, 78-70. The US defeated Bulgaria 67-58 in the semi-finals.
The Soviet Union was led by 7-foot-2 Semenova Ivilana, widely considered as the world’s most powerful player, was the last opponent for Vladimir Putin. Prior to the 1983 World Championships, the USSR had a 152-2 record in major international tournaments, including an 84-82 victory over the United States. The USA squad won the gold medal after taking an early 21-19 lead. The USA side went on a scoring binge to take an early advantage that they never relinquished. Miller led his teammates in scoring with 20.6 points per game throughout the campaign.
Miller competed for the United States in the World Championships in Moscow in 1986, just a month after the Goodwill Games. The US team dominated early in the game, easily beating Canada 82-59 in the semifinals. Simultaneously, the Soviet squad won, and the final game featured two 6-0 teams. The Soviet team hoped to demonstrate that their loss at the Goodwill Games was an exception. The Americans led 45-23 at halftime after scoring the first eight points, but the Soviets rallied and trimmed the margin to 13. After a 15-1 surge in the second half, the USSR won the gold medal with a total score of 108-88. Miller finished the game with 24 points.
After graduating from USC in 1986, Miller was signed by a variety of professional basketball teams, including the men’s United States Basketball League. Miller, on the other hand, had knee problems in the late 1980s that prevented her from playing any longer. From 1986 through 1991, she served as an assistant coach at USC and as a television sportscaster.
Miller was named head coach at USC, where she led her teams to two NCAA tournaments and a 42-14 overall record. She was the general manager of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury for four seasons in addition to coaching.
Cheryl Miller worked as an analyst and reporter for NBA TV during the 2008-09 season, as well as a sideline reporter for the NBA on TNT’s Thursday night doubleheaders. She joined Turner Sports in September 1995 as an analyst and reporter for the NBA on TBS and TNT. Her sporadic responsibilities included acting as a studio commentator for NBA games. In November 1996, she became the first female analyst to commentate an NBA game nationwide, and she later worked as a sideline reporter for NBA 2K games. Her contract with 2K Sports expired in 2013, and she has not worked for the company since.
Miller was a basketball commentator at the 1994 Goodwill Games. As a reporter, Miller covered weightlifting at the 2001 Goodwill Games. Miller worked as a women’s basketball commentator and men’s basketball reporter for NBC’s coverage of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Miller worked for ABC Sports/ESPN as a reporter for ABC’s Wide World of Sports and as a college basketball commentator from 1987 to 1993. She worked as a Field Reporter for the 1987 Little League World Series and as a Correspondent for the 1988 Calgary Olympics.