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Harold Miner

Harold Miner

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Harold David Miner is a retired American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 professional basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 player and two-time champion of the National Basketball Association
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

 (NBA) Slam Dunk Contest
Slam Dunk Contest
The Slam Dunk Contest is an annual National Basketball Association competition held during the NBA All-Star Weekend. The contest was inaugurated by the American Basketball Association at its All-Star Game in 1976 in Denver, the same year the slam dunk was legalized in the NCAA...

. He attended college at the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

 (USC) and was a star player on that school's men's basketball team. He left school in 1992 to pursue his professional career, and played in the NBA for the Miami Heat
Miami Heat
The Miami Heat is a professional basketball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. The team is a member of the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association . They play their home games at American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami...

 and Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They began playing in the National Basketball Association in 1970 as an expansion team...

.

High school and college


A native of Inglewood, California
Inglewood, California
Inglewood is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, southwest of downtown Los Angeles. It was incorporated on February 14, 1908. Its population stood at 109,673 as of the 2010 Census...

, Miner first came to prominence as a high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

 player. A stand-out on his team at Inglewood High School
Inglewood High School (California)
Inglewood High School is a public high school in Inglewood, California, USA. Opened in 1905, it is part of Inglewood Unified School District.-Notable alumni:*Sonny Bono, did not graduate*Jason Hart, NBA basketball player...

, Miner's spectacular dunking
Slam dunk
A slam dunk is a type of basketball shot that is performed when a player jumps in the air and manually powers the ball downward through the basket with one or both hands over the rim. This is considered a normal field goal attempt; if successful it is worth two points. The term "slam dunk" was...

 ability resulted in his being given the nickname "Baby Jordan", in reference to fellow NBA high flyer Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a former American professional basketball player, active entrepreneur, and majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats...

.

Miner attended USC from 1989 until 1992. As a junior in what would be his final season with the team, Miner's play earned him Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

magazine's selection as the college basketball player of the year over such notable candidates as Christian Laettner
Christian Laettner
Christian Donald Laettner is a retired American professional basketball player and entrepreneur. He had a distinguished college and national career, and played in the National Basketball Association for thirteen seasons, from 1992–2005. He is presently a minority holder for the Major League...

, Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal , nicknamed "Shaq" , is a former American professional basketball player. Standing tall and weighing , he was one of the heaviest players ever to play in the NBA...

, and Alonzo Mourning
Alonzo Mourning
Alonzo Harding Mourning, Jr. is a former American professional basketball player, who played most of his 15-year NBA career for the Miami Heat....

. Miner led the USC Trojans men's basketball team to a #2 seeding in the 1992 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
1992 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
The 1992 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 64 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 19, 1992, and ended with the championship game on April 6 in Minneapolis, Minnesota...

. The Trojans were upset in the second round, however, falling on one of the most famous baskets in the tournament's history — a three-pointer
Three-point field goal
A three-point field goal is a field goal in a basketball game, made from beyond the three-point line, a designated arc radiating from the basket...

 at the buzzer by James Forrest of Georgia Tech.

Pro career


Miner left college after the 1992 season and declared himself eligible for the 1992 NBA Draft
1992 NBA Draft
The 1992 NBA Draft took place on June 24, 1992, in Portland, Oregon. At the time, the draft was considered to be one of the deepest drafts in NBA history. The top three picks were considered can't-miss prospects. O'Neal and Mourning are likely Hall of Famers...

. He was selected by the Miami Heat with the draft's 12th overall pick.

Miner won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest
Slam Dunk Contest
The Slam Dunk Contest is an annual National Basketball Association competition held during the NBA All-Star Weekend. The contest was inaugurated by the American Basketball Association at its All-Star Game in 1976 in Denver, the same year the slam dunk was legalized in the NCAA...

 twice, in 1993 and 1995. In the 1995 contest, Miner defeated Isaiah Rider, who had won the previous year, solidifying Miner as one of the game's best dunkers. However, his playing career proved unremarkable and failed to live up to the high expectations with which it began. Despite his dunking prowess, Miner did not get much playing time from Heat coaches, Kevin Loughery
Kevin Loughery
Kevin Michael Loughery is an American former professional basketball player and coach.-Career Biography:...

 and Alvin Gentry
Alvin Gentry
Alvin Gentry is an American professional basketball coach, and college basketball player, who has led four different NBA teams. He served as an interim coach for the Miami Heat at the end of the 1995 season, and later coached the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers...

.

I always felt the worst thing to happen to Harold was the "Baby Jordan" tag.
George Raveling
George Raveling
George Raveling is a former college men's basketball coach and FOX Sports Net color commentator. He was the head coach at Washington State University , the University of Iowa , and the University of Southern California . The Washington, D.C. native attended St...

, Miner's head coach at USC


After the 1995 season, Miner was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They began playing in the National Basketball Association in 1970 as an expansion team...

. He averaged only 3.2 points and 7.2 minutes per game for the Cavaliers. On October 18, 1995 he was traded to the Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's re-expansion...

 for Victor Alexander
Victor Alexander
Victor Joe Alexander is a retired American professional basketball player who was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the 1st round of the 1991 NBA Draft after playing collegiately at Iowa State University...

, but that trade was rescinded 4 days later when Alexander failed his physical. Miner played five scoreless minutes in his last NBA game, a 26-point loss to the Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois, playing in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1966. They play their home games at the United Center...

 on February 20, 1996.

Cleveland waived Miner, having played him in only 19 games that season. He tried out for the Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors are a professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was established in 1995, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, as part of the NBA's re-expansion...

 the following year but was cut during the preseason. Rather than continue to pursue a career in professional basketball, either in the NBA or overseas, Miner retired from the sport. He later said that his decision was prompted by the many knee injuries he suffered during his career.

Retirement


As of 2011, Miner had settled in Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

, and was married with two children. He said that he had invested wisely the money he had earned in salary and endorsements during his playing career, allowing him to remain a stay-at-home father, rather than needing to seek employment. Over most of the time since his retirement from basketball, he had been disinclined to give interviews or make public appearances, instead remaining private and largely inaccessible. In 2010, however, he agreed to an interview in which he indicated a desire begin reconnecting with the University of Southern California and with some of his acquaintances from playing days.

In 2011, Miner appeared at the Pacific-10 Men's Basketball Tournament, to be inducted into that conference's basketball Hall of Honor, and indicated he planned to attend the retirement of his jersey by USC later that year. Miner tied his previous seclusion largely to his disappointment with his professional career. Explaining his public reemergence, he said, "I guess I feel like I'm over it now. I've kind of purged my system and come to a point of accepting what happened with my career: that I wasn't able to live up to my own personal expectations."

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