Lobo assistant Ryan provides support for brother Mike
Ryan Miller has experienced a lot of emotions throughout his basketball career. But the New Mexico assistant men’s basketball coach had never been though anything like Tuesday night in Miami.
“There were a lot of tears shed; no question about that,” Miller said of watching his younger brother, Mike, help lead the Miami Heat to a 101-93 overtime win against Chicago in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
“It was a very special moment for our family. We’re just really proud of Mike and the way he’s handling everything.”
Mike came off the bench to score 12 points, grab nine rebounds and hit a pair of crucial 3s as the Heat took a 3-1 lead in the series. The performance was even more impressive, given what Mike is going through.
Mike’s daughter, Jaelyn Miller — born just a week earlier — remains in intensive care in a South Florida hospital with undisclosed health issues. Ryan spent most of the past week in Miami to support his brother.
“Mike’s wife (Jennifer) and her family have been at the hospital 24/7,” Ryan says. “I’ve was out there more for support than anything, and to help get him where he needed to be.
“It’s been very emotional for him. To go through the excitement of having a daughter, then all the stress with his job. But he’s a professional and he handles it well.”
Much had been expected of Mike when he joined the Heat this season to play along with LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. But injuries — including to both of his thumbs — have sidelined Miller much of the season.
“It’s been such a tough season for him,” says Ryan, 35. “He had surgery on one of his thumbs and will get surgery on the other in the offseason. There’s been disappointment from people in Miami, because he was expected to have much greater impact. So for him to have a night like that, and in such a huge game, it was a very proud moment.”
Ryan and his parents, Tom and Sheryl Miller, attended both of the Heat’s wins against the Bulls in Miami this week. Tom and Sheryl still live in South Dakota, where the family was raised.
Ryan and 31-year-old Mike’s other brother, Jared, also has a son, born a week earlier than Mike’s daughter.
“It’s been a very special time for the family, with two kids being born,” says Ryan, who also has one sister. “But it’s also been very emotional with everything going on.”
— This article appeared on page D2 of the Albuquerque Journal