Brad Miller, who forged a special relationship with Rick Adelman over the course of his 14-year NBA career, played his final game last week. (Rights: Bryan Patrick, Sacramento Bee, 2004)

It’s not often that an NBA player gets to retire on his own terms. It’s probably happening for several old stalwarts this summer – 2004 NBA Champion and four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace has revealed he’ll likely hang ’em up. Then there’s Kurt Thomas, the oldest player in the NBA, whose 17-year career saw him join the elite group of players to have appeared in over 1000 games last season.

The retiree I’d like to pay homage to today, though, is Brad Miller. Brad was the Euro-center before the NBA knew what a Euro-center was. In his early days with the Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls, Miller’s tendency for long-range shooting probably lost him as many minutes as it gained him, but can you tell me an elite big man in the game today who either can’t shoot or isn’t developing a jump shot? Hell, even Andrew Bynum’s been at it this season.

Once he got to Sacramento, though, Miller’s game flourished under the nurturing of Rick Adelman (pictured above, with Miller), who, having already worked with the likes of Chris Mullin, Arvydas Sabonis and Vlade Divac, was more inclined and more prepared to value Miller’s stretch-shooting skill set. In his first year in Sac’to, the Purdue alum had a career year, averaging 14 points, 10 boards and 4 dimes – setting the pattern for much of his five-year career with the Kings, even as the team went on the slide and Adelman left for greener pastures in Houston.

The pair were re-united in 2010 in Houston, with Adelman seeking a quality center to spell Yao Ming. Of course, the Great Wall of China came tumbling down for good not long after that, and though Miller wasn’t a regular starter, he played 60 games last season as a back-up big man.

When Adelman took the Minnesota hotseat this summer, he needed some quality veterans to instill some confidence and maturity into his young core (ok, into Michael Beasley), and once more he turned to Miller. These days, big Brad is big, old Brad, and the 36-year-old has only featured in 15 games this season for Minny – but the passion is clearly still there, as he showed when being subbed out of his final NBA game at home to the Nuggets last week.

Let’s not forget that Miller is a two-time All-Star from his heady days as a leader on the Kings and a two-time Team USA bronze medalist (1998 and 2006 World Championships). He might have achieved even more, had it not been for the injuries which restricted him to just a single 82-game season in his 14-year pro career.

Miller is not one of those superstars who’s going to get ESPN documentaries, montages or special mentions from the President on announcing his retirement. Especially since he said last month he’s retiring to focus on hosting his TV hunting show. Nonetheless, Micah Hart, of’s All Ball Blog, paid this fitting tribute to Miller, who nailed a three-pointer from straight on two minutes before he was withdrawn.

Sometimes, though, it’s best to know when your time is up. Miller walks away from the NBA having never failed to make a roster, never failed to participate in a season. Injuries aside, he has contributed to teams whenever he has been available to them. As he heads off around the world in search of game, he leaves one behind which will surely be sad to see the back of him.

This article was originally posted on on May 2nd.

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