REGGIE'S HERO THIS TIME

Copyright 2002 Daily News, L.P.
Daily News (New York)...05/09/2002

By KRISTIE ACKERT DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

For one day at least, Reggie Miller had some fans in New York.

Miller, the Knicks' archenemy, came to the city yesterday to show his support for the city's firefighters. In honor of those lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the Pacers star donated $ 206,000 to the firemen's widows and children in a ceremony held at an East Side firehouse.

"I don't know if I will ever be the good guy (in New York). I will never be anything like these guys," Miller said of the firemen gathered around him. "But I wanted to do something for my country and for the people. It was special, because it was something I did tied to my performance and I did my best."

Miller, who pledged $ 1,000 for each three-pointer he hit this season, had the second best year of his career in terms of shooting from beyond the arc. This year, he hit 193 three-pointers (out of 474 tries) in the regular season and postseason, as well as six the preseason.

"It was something different," Miller said. "I have my own foundation that works with burn victims, but this was something special. It felt like I was doing something to honor my country."

After appearing on the ABC morning show "Live with Regis and Kelly," Miller came to the firehouse of Engine Company 16 and Ladder Company 7, where he was greeted by children from local schools.

"We love the Pacers," they shouted as he stepped out of a limousine. He smiled and asked, "Are you sure I'm in New York? I never thought I would hear that here."

Among the children were the sons and daughters of some of the eight members of that firehouse that were lost in the attack. Miller took pictures with the families and members of the firehouse and posed in firefighters gear and in the drivers' seat of the remaining truck (one was called out on a fire in the middle of the ceremony), before he asked the media to excuse him so he could sit down to have lunch with the firefighters.

"No basketball questions today," Miller said. "These guys are why I'm here."



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