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by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World
Anyone who is truly a fan of the NBA will remember the story of Harold Miner, aka “Baby Jordan.” Miner played for USC in the early 1990s, and left for the NBA in 1992. He won the slam dunk contest in 1993 and 1995, and eventually became known as the heir to the throne of Michael Jordan.
Miner wasn’t able to live up to the hype. After a few dismal seasons in the NBA, Miner retired from the NBA in 1996. A short, four year stint is hardly what we might expect from “Baby Jordan,” so some consider Miner’s career to be one of the great disappointments in NBA history.
Miner is now 39 years old and is a stay-at-home dad with his 9 year old daughter and 5 year old son. He is living off the money he made in the NBA, which he invested wisely. He chose to be reclusive for a number of years, primarily because he was disappointed with the way his NBA career had turned out. But he is now willing to go back into the public eye.
“I’m really kind of dumbfounded as to why people would be interested in reading a story about me,” Miner said. “I haven’t played in almost 15 years and I haven’t done anything significant on a national scale since my junior year at SC almost 20 years ago. It’s a trip, actually.”
One thing I’ve learned in life is that sometimes, when you don’t get what you want, you actually get what you need. When I was in high school, there was nothing I wanted more than to get an athletic scholarship. But I wasn’t good enough, which led me to focus on my academics instead. As a result, I became a successful scholar and was never tempted to throw away my education for the sake of a career in professional sports.
Far too many black males are sucked into the sports illusion, with dreams of fame, fortune, bling and booty, leading them to cash in all of their other options for a set of opportunities that never come to fruition. Black women are not raised with such hoop dreams, which is part of the reason that they are outshining black men in nearly every walk of life.
The second thing I loved reading about Harold Miner’s story is that he is one of the athletes who managed his money well. We often hear stories about guys who waste it all, but we never hear the other stories about the men who quietly turned their millions into even greater sums of money. So, although some might consider Harold Miner to be a disappointment, I actually think he has an amazing success story.
The key point we can ascertain from Harold Miner’s life is pretty clear: Our most hurtful disappointments can sometimes lead to our greatest successes. You get dumped by the person you love and meet someone better; you get fired from a job you hate and end up starting a successful business. The ability to spring forward from your setbacks is part of what allows you to experience the blessings that life may have in store for you.
By becoming a wealthy family man and model citizen, Harold Miner is living the life of a decent and honorable black man. He wasn’t sucked into a gluttonous culture of drug/alcohol addiction, vast s****l promiscuity and irresponsible behavior that consumes many professional athletes. He actually found that when his athletic opportunities left him, he had the chance to become a man. Therefore, the story of Harold Miner is certainly worth celebrating.