clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Retired Andre Miller spends Christmas in Utah, enjoys watching Runnin' Utes play

Former University of Utah star Andre Miller takes time to pose for a photo with Ute fans after watching Saturday's game against Nevada at the Huntsman Center.
Former University of Utah star Andre Miller takes time to pose for a photo with Ute fans after watching Saturday's game against Nevada at the Huntsman Center.
Jody Genessy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Andre Miller wasn't home for Christmas, but he did the next best thing.

The former University of Utah star and longtime NBA standout spent the holidays at his home away from home: Salt Lake City, his old college stomping grounds.

Miller received a loud ovation during the Utes' 86-71 loss to Nevada on Saturday afternoon when he was welcomed back to the Huntsman Center on the video scoreboard, and he spent time taking selfies with fans and catching up with old friends after the final buzzer sounded.

By the smile on his face, it was clear he was glad to be back at his college home, even if it's not quite as warm as the climate at his current residence in San Diego. His wife and two sons joined him in Utah where they spent Christmas, took in some basketball and hit the slopes to ski.

Miller, who has a bit more salt than pepper in his hair nowadays, said retirement is suiting him well. What's he do?

"Nothing much," he admitted. "Just sitting around watching sports, doing the family thing. That's about it."

Miller went on to have a lengthy NBA career after leading the Utes to the national championship game in 1998. His No. 24 jersey has been retired by the university, and a banner hangs from the rafters in his honor along with Kim Smith, Andrew Bogut, Billy McGill, Arnie Ferrin, Danny Vranes, Vern Gardner, Keith Van Horn and Rick Majerus.

Senior point guard Sedrick Barefield was honored to have Miller in the house for Saturday's showdown with a national power. Barefield said he's spent a lot of time playing with Miller in open gyms, and the two exchange texts on occasion.

"He’s kind of just a mentor to me and gives me a lot of great advice," Barefield said. "Man, probably the best point guard in Utah history right there, so that’s pretty cool that he came."

Miller likes what he's seeing from his alma mater a couple of decades after his career ended.

"They're young, but they’re doing well," Miller said of the 2018-19 Ute squad, which fell to 6-6 Saturday. "It was a good game. I think turnovers (hurt) a little bit, but besides that, that was a good team they played against."

Miller was the eighth pick overall by the Cavaliers in 1999 after his stellar All-American career at Utah. During a 17-year NBA career, he played for Cleveland, the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver (twice), Philadelphia, Portland, Washington, Sacramento, Minnesota and San Antonio.

The 42-year-old's schedule is much more open in retirement, which he isn't complaining about.

"It has its moments, your ups and downs," Miller said. "But for the most part, I've enjoyed the transition. I get to travel a little bit and catch some Ute football games and basketball games, so that's fun for me."

Miller likes watching his kids play "from a distance," but he doesn't have any immediate plans to jump into coaching or get involved in a post-career business venture.

Miller smiled when asked what's next for him.

"I have no idea," he said. "I have no idea."

Well, he does know where his next stop will be. The Millers are headed back to their non-Utah home to watch the Ute football team take on Northwestern in Holiday Bowl on Monday.