Darius Miles has been out of the NBA for almost a decade, but he will never leave the hearts and minds of Clipper fans.
Miles was part a beloved baby Clipper team, headlined by himself, Quentin Richardson, Lamar Odom, Keyon Dooling, and Corey Maggette, among others. Even though they didn’t experience a great deal of team success, those Clippers left an indelible impact on the fan base and throughout the league. Miles and Q particularly had an infectious energy, and they left their mark in the form of their in-game celebration.
There has been much speculation over the years as to where the move came from, and Miles finally broke his silence — with an assist from guest editor Quentin Richardson — in a wonderful piece for The Players’ Tribune today. Miles opens up about his childhood, what it was like to play for Donald Sterling’s Clippers, being in the NBA at such a young age, and how he has handled his life after basketball.
The entire piece is tremendous, though I wish he had also shared some stories about his Hollywood turn in The Perfect Score, but the icing on the cake is learning the origin of Miles’ trademark celebration.
The real story is this.… We were so young that we couldn’t really go to the clubs, so we used drive around L.A. going to high school basketball games. We always used to go to Westchester High games because they had the prettiest girls....
Anyway, it wasn’t just about the girls. Westchester had a really good team, so we used to go watch Trevor Ariza and Hassan Adams and Bobby Brown and those boys. I don’t know how it got started, but they’d throw up their fists after they made a three.
So we’d be hanging with them, and they’d be like, “Come on, when you gonna shout us out? You gotta do it. Show us some love.”
So cut to me dunking the s**t out of the ball, or Q hitting a big three-pointer or something, I can’t even remember, and one of us throws it up. Two taps to the head. For them boys from Westchester High.
We didn’t think anything of it. But then it just took on a life of its own.
To this day, Miles says it’s the first thing people do when they see him. And it is absolutely the first thing I think of whenever I hear his name (that, and him knowing the answers to all the math questions on the stolen SAT. Seriously, The Perfect Score is a very underrated movie.)
If you haven’t already, check out the entire Players’ Tribune feature. There may never be another Clipper character quite like Darius Miles.