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Harold Miner: The forgotten next Jordan

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There have been a lot of players cursed with the “Next Jordan” label. The 12th pick in the 1992 Draft, Harold Miner, was not only the first to be condemned, as his nickname was actually “Baby Jordan.” And like most others with the curse, he didn’t live up to the unfair expectations.

I always felt the worst thing to happen to Harold was the “Baby Jordan” tag.

George Raveling, Miner’s head coach at USC

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Despite an inconsistent shot and poor defense, the explosive guard built an extensive fan base based on his two slam dunk championships. Bur worth praising more than his windmills is him donating the money he won from his wins to recreational programs in Inglewood, as Nike even sponsored Miner. Unfortunately, lack of playing time and injuries killed his passion for basketball and, eventually, his career.

Miner left college after the 1992 season and declared himself eligible for the 1992 NBA Draft. The Miami Heat selected him with the 12th overall pick. 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 and Alvin Gentry.

After the 1995 season, Miner was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. 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 On October 18, 1995, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors for Victor Alexander, but that trade was rescinded four days later when Alexander failed his physical.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 on February 20, 1996.

Cleveland waived Miner, having played him in only 19 games that season. He tried out for the Toronto Raptors 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.

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