Baby Jordan — what better nickname for a player coming into the NBA in the 90’s? Harold Miner was a powerfully built two guard out of USC, drafted by the Miami Heat in the 1992 NBA Draft. Miner looked the part: bald head, bouncy, nice mid-range game. He was billed as the lefty version of Michael Jordan. His rookie year was highlighted by a dominating performance start to finish in the 1993 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Miner had surely arrived, right?
Miner showed flashes of stardom and untapped potential his first two years in the league. However, playing time and injuries put a stop to any momentum his career had up to that point. Miner is certainly the first casualty of the “next Jordan” tag. His stellar career at USC, wearing #23 in college, the bald head, the powerful yet graceful dunks, the NIKE endorsement — everything was in line for Harold Miner to rival Jordan.
Miner had solid ball handling ability, and was never afraid to display it. Inconsistent playing time may have derailed him early on, but the sky certainly seemed like the limit for Baby Jordan. I’m never one to call an NBA career a failed one, but it’s hard to overlook how disappointing Miner’s story is from a professional standpoint. His legacy lives on forever, as a two time Slam Dunk Champion.
Harold Miner spent 4 years in the NBA between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s been incognito since his playing days, but as a basketball crazed kid, I remember the type of hype that surrounded his name. He was definitely one of the most exciting players to play with in the NBA Jam video game. For a Miami Heat franchise in it’s infancy, Miner was absolutely the best draft pick for a Franchise searching for it’s first superstar. A great tale of what if, Harold Miner’s career will forever be linked to the Jordan inspired guards who came after him.