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Cheryl Miller

Headshot of Cheryl Miller with a content smile.
By Alicia Berber

California Connection:

b. 1964

  • Born and raised in Riverside; lifelong California resident


Olympic gold medalist, head coach, sportscaster and one of the top five women’s collegiate basketball players in NCAA history, Cheryl Miller is a basketball legend who helped popularize and elevate the women’s game.

A starting player throughout high school, Miller became the first athlete—male or female—named to the ParadeAll-America high school team for four straight years and set California records for points in a single game (105), points in a single season (1,156) and career points (3,405). On January 26, 1982, she became the first woman to dunk a basketball in organized play.

Still the most highly recruited male or female player ever, Miller chose the University of Southern California. There she became a four-time All-American and led the Trojans to a 112-20 record and to the NCAA title in 1983 and 1984. The back-to-back titles were an NCAA first, and she was tournament MVP both years. She won the Naismith Trophy and the Broderick Award as the nation’s best woman basketball player three times, shared the 1984 Honda Broderick Cup as the outstanding college athlete in any sport and was the Wade Trophy winner in 1985. With 3,018 points—at a time when there was no three-point line—and 1,534 rebounds scored over 128 games, she ranks 14th among the NCAA’s all-time leading scorers and still holds USC records for points, rebounds, field goals, free throws, steals and games played. In 1986, she became the first player whose jersey was retired by the university.

In the international arena, Miller led the U.S. women’s basketball team to a gold medal in the 1983 Pan American Games and to another gold in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In 1986, she added a gold medal at the Goodwill Games in Moscow as the U.S. team broke the Soviet Union’s 152-game winning streak.

When knee injuries cut her professional career short, Miller turned to coaching, including as head coach for USC, Cal State LA and the WNBA Phoenix Mercury, where she also served as general manager, becoming the first person to serve in both capacities in the history of the professional leagues. She also served as a basketball analyst and commentator for ABC, ESPN, TBS and TNT. In November 1996, she became the first female analyst to call a nationally televised NBA game.

Miller’s recognition includes induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of Fame.

View more inductees from the 17th class, inducted in 2024.