Brad Miller is typically decked out in jeans, a flannel shirt and a hat, often branded with something hunting related. When he is announced as being in attendance at the Sacramento Kings games these days, the song "Bad to the Bone" plays over the PA system as he waves to the crowd.
He's a fan favorite, and Sacramento is a favorite of his.
Miller, who was at the final game at Sleep Train Arena earlier this month, said Sacramento was where he grew as a player. When he arrived in the Capitol city in 2003 from the Indiana Pacers the only things he knew about the area from being an opponent of the Kings was that the arena was in the middle of no where and the visitors' locker room was a "dump." Since then, he said he has learned to enjoy and understand what Sacramento has to offer as he has raised his daughter in the area.
"Once you live here, it's a fun city, it's a good city," said the Indiana-born Miller.
Miller, now 40 years of age, spent five-and-a-half seasons in Sacramento enjoying the best statistics of his career (15.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 blocks in 2004-05) in a city that was riding high off the success of the Chris Webber and Vlade Divac-led teams. The former All-Star retired from the game in the 2011-12 season after he left Sacramento in 2008-09. He went on to play in Chicago, Houston, and Minnesota, but he has put down roots in Sacramento and now considers it home. The 6'11'' former center attends a handful of Kings game a season. He estimates he attended seven to eight games this past season.
The always lighthearted Miller stood before the Sacramento media this month and said one of the most memorable moments for him at Sleep Train Arena, aside from having to shower within two minutes of games ending before the dishwashers turned on and took all the hot water, was when Anthony Peeler squared up on Garnett in the playoffs.
"That was pretty funny," Miller quipped.
Outside of basketball, his world has always revolved around hunting and it was no secret during his playing days. He vowed to focus on it solely when he retired from the NBA. He is now featured on The Sportsman Channel's Country Boy Outdoors TV show and spends a lot of time hunting locally. Miller even gets some of the players on the current Kings team involved. He recently invited Kings big man Quincy Acy and forward Rudy Gay to accompany him on a duck hunting trip, according to Acy. Acy, who is from Texas and spent a lot of time hunting hogs in his younger days, said they had to wake up at 4 a.m. for the trip so Gay "bailed."
"It was fun, he's [Miller] a good dude, man. Real down to Earth. He's relatable and he's just a cool dude," said Acy, who claims he may have got the same or a few more ducks than Miller that day. Miller said Acy was better than he thought he would be at hunting.
While hunting last September, Miller landed an elk. When he heard that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was a fan of wild game meat, he decided to bring some of that elk meat in frozen form to the arena for Boogie.
"It's healthy for you. He grew up country," Miller said of Cousins, who is from Alabama.
"Yeah, it was cool. I had never had it before," Cousins said.
Cousins chatted about the present from Miller after complimenting the "family setting" that he experiences while playing in Sacramento. The comment came on the night that several former Kings players and coaches were in the building to say goodbye to Sleep Train Arena one last time. Cousins, like Miller, seems to genuinely enjoy the family environment Sacramento has to offer.
"That's what I love about this place. That's the type of comfort you want coming in to work every day," Cousins said.
Miller must have experienced a similar type of comfort in the Sacramento area during his playing days because he never left.