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June 22, 2012 06:21 PM

Miller's HS Teammates Celebrate NBA Title

Mitchell, SD

Not only did Mike Miller celebrate leading the Miami Heat to the NBA championship, but so did his hometown of Mitchell.

"My first varsity basket came off an assist from Mike," former Mitchell High School teammate Matt Culhane said.

Culhane doesn't need an assist to run the Thunderbird Lodge in Mitchell. But Thursday night, he was trying to assist his former teammate nearly 2,000 miles away

"Every time he went up to shoot, I stood up with him," Culhane said. "The ball went in, I went running through my living room like a crazy man."

"I think last night was easily his best game," former Mitchell High School teammate J.J. Kippes said.

Kippes also had his eyes glued on the television Thursday night, watching a man who gave him the chance to see the country back in high school.

"We played in a tournament in Hawaii, North Carolina, Ohio, Denver," Kippes said. "There were countless opportunities that, if he wasn't there, probably wouldn't have happened."

It hasn't been the easiest year for Miller. He's received criticism for his contract, battled through injury issues and dealt with retirement issues. But he dribbled through all those obstacles to become a champion.

"It was a relief for him," Kippes said. "I think he's probably getting a little bit close to the end of his career. And so, it's got to be a big sigh of relief for him."

Although neither of his former teammates were offering any hints of Miller's future plans, the 23-point performance might be the perfect way to let the clock wind down.

"If he's going to go out, it's tough to have a better moment than last (Thursday) night," Culhane said.

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