Jordan is a proud basketball player, but his reputation suffered when he was labeled as “The Baby Jordan” due to him being too young and inexperienced. Now in the NBA, it’s hard for Jordan to shake that label even though he has proven himself time and time again with great performances on the court.
Harold Miner was a promising NBA player who was drafted by the Washington Wizards in the first round of the 1985 draft. He later went on to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, and then finally signed with the San Antonio Spurs. However, his career was ruined when he was dubbed “Baby Jordan” by an announcer during a game against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
Since Jordan’s arrival in the league, the NBA has been on the lookout for the next Michael Jordan.
It’s easy to understand why the NBA wanted to find another star who could match Jordan’s magnetism, especially given his high-flying act, clutch shots, and shoes (it’s got to be the shoes!).
It had left an indelible impression on everyone’s mind. It was impossible to avoid it. “If I could be like Mike,” said the Gatorade advertisement you’d see a half-dozen times a day.
We’ve seen a lot of “the next Jordans” in this league. Some, such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, have worked out.
Others, like Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, and Vince Carter, had promising starts but faded too rapidly.
These athletes may not have lived up to Michael Jordan’s legacy, but they held their own and had successful careers.
What if I told you that Harold Miner was another “next Jordan”?
If you’re a die-hard basketball fan, you’ve probably heard of him. You probably have no clue who I’m talking about if you’re a casual fan.
No concerns if you’re the latter in this scenario. I’ll give you a history lesson on the high school basketball star known as “Baby Jordan.”
Miner went to Inglewood High School, where he was compared to Michael Jordan by his junior year.
As a junior, Miner averaged 27 points per game, but it was his scoring style that garnered parallels to the NBA’s G.O.A.T.
Miner, like Jordan, soared through the air. His high-flying slam dunks astonished local fans, earning him comparisons fast.
Miner’s final year of high school saw him repeat his performance from the previous year. More spectacular slam dunks and 28 points per game.
Miner was recruited by a number of elite universities, but he selected USC to be close to home.
Throughout his undergraduate career, “Baby Jordan” continued to wow audiences. Miner averaged 26.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a junior.
Sports Illustrated would name Miner college basketball player of the year. Christian Laettner, Alonzo Mourning, and Shaquille O’Neal were among the best collegiate players he defeated.
The USC Trojans, led by Miner, were seeded second in the Midwest area. Georgia Tech would eventually beat them in the second round on a last-second shot by James Forrest.
Miner opted to pursue his NBA dreams after his junior season. The Miami Heat picked him 12th overall in the 1992 draft.
Miner, dubbed “Baby Jordan,” was seen as the future Jordan. Michael Jordan would be Miner’s first target on December 30, 1992.
The game would not be kind to “Baby Jordan.” The Chicago Bulls won 105-100 over the Miami Heat. Jordan finished with 39 points on 9-18 shooting.
Miner, on the other hand, had a 10-point performance on 5-for-14 shooting. In this game, “Elder Jordan” clearly beat over “Baby Jordan.” Jordan had a tremendous block on Miner, for example.
Miner’s career was summed up in one play. Jordan appeared to block him in the game, and the “Baby Jordan” title he was given seemed to obstruct him throughout his career.
Miner was under a lot of strain since everyone had great expectations for him, and he couldn’t manage it. He was also dealing with a lingering knee problem on top of the pressure.
Miner was moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers after three seasons with the Miami Heat, where he averaged 9.6 points per game.
The Cavaliers never intended to retain Miner, thus he was moved to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for center Victor Alexander. When Alexander failed his physical four days later, the transaction was canceled.
Miner appeared in 19 games with the Cavaliers, averaging 3.2 points per contest.
Miner’s career would be cut short when the Cavaliers waived him. He tried out for the Raptors the next season, but was released in the preseason.
Miner, like many other players who have suffered the same fate, momentarily contemplated pursuing a career in another country, but swiftly dismissed the notion.
Miner also declined to try out for another NBA club, and he retired after just 200 games in the league.
Miner’s last NBA game was against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, which was an odd coincidence.
The Bulls won by a score of 102-76. Jordan didn’t have his usual dominating performance, scoring just 14 points. In barely 5 minutes of play, Miner would be kept scoreless.
George Raveling, Miner’s head coach at USC, had this to say about him:
“I’ve always thought the ‘Baby Jordan’ moniker was the worst thing that could have happened to Harold.”
Miner has been out of the public eye since his retirement from the NBA. Later in life, he married, moved to Las Vegas, and became a stay-at-home dad.
Many people were curious as to what had happened to the former NBA star who had faded from public view.
There were claims that Miner was in the witness protection program, working at a fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles, or even an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.
In reality, he simply wanted to live a regular life, and you can’t blame him.
Miner resurfaced in the public eye when he attended the Pac-10 tournament in 2011 and was inducted into the conference’s Hall of Honor.
Miner also made an appearance in 2012, when USC retired his No. 23 jersey.
Despite the fact that his NBA career did not measure up to the promise, he did have some bright spots. These highlights occurred during the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Miner competed in two slam dunk competitions (93, 95). He would go on to win both competitions, demonstrating that he was one of the finest dunkers in the game.
His success in the Slam Dunk Contests, however, did not carry over into his playing career.
But if this shows anything, it’s that living up to the expectation of becoming the next Michael Jordan is exceedingly difficult and demanding.
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Harold Miner was a basketball player who, in the 1980s and early 1990s, had an extremely successful career. However, after being labeled “Baby Jordan,” his career went downhill. Reference: harold miner wife.
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