Harold David Miner (born May 5, 1971) is a retired American professional basketball player and two-time champion of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Slam Dunk Contest. He attended college at the University of Southern California (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 and Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite the comparisons to Michael Jordan, Miner’s NBA career only lasted four years.
Miner left college after the 1992 season and declared himself eligible for the 1992 NBA Draft. He was selected by the Miami Heat with the draft’s 12th overall pick.
Miner won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest 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 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 On October 18, 1995 he was traded to the Toronto Raptors for Victor Alexander, but that trade was rescinded 4 days later when Alexander failed his physical.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 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.
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. He would later attend the retirement of his jersey by USC during half time of the game against UCLA on 15 Jan 2012. 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.”
Career NBA statistics
Points 1,801 (9.0 ppg)
Rebounds 432 (2.2 rpg)
Assists 245 (1.2 apg)
Career highlights and awards
2× NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1993, 1995)
Consensus first-team All-American (1992)
Pac-10 Player of the Year (1992)
3× First-team All-Pac-10 (1990–1992)
Pac-10 Freshman of the Year (1990)