Entry #52 - Feb. 6, 2012 - Miner Education

You may or may not remember back when Alonzo Mourning was a rookie, he was holding out for a big contract from the Hornets, and threatening to not play the entire season. Did you know representing Zo was David Falk and Nike Sports Management? Their first NBA clients were Zo and Harold Miner.

Nike Sports Management was launched to be one stop shopping for player representation. Nike would do all the agent stuff, get the players the best deals in all aspects, in exchange for Nike having a say on what endorsements that athlete would have. Nike was interested in this so they could control their athletes endorsement deals, (which is better for Nike-when an athlete endorses fifty products, their word isn't worth the same as the athlete who is only endorsing a couple products, and it would keep athletes from endorsing products that align too closely with Nike) instead of agents, who are pretty much interested in just racking up $ for themselves and their athlete.

Like Alonzo, Harold Miner was having difficulty coming to an agreement with his new employers, but unlike Alonzo, was able to get it done before missing any regular season games. Thing was, as the story goes, it backfired on Nike. The contracts Nike Sports Management were giving Mourning and Miner was guaranteed money, no matter how much NSM was able to negotiate out of their respective teams. Nike overshot on Harold's NSM contract, overestimating his draft spot (they were thinking 6th or 7th, ended up going 12th) and couldn't get the millions out of Miami they thought they were going to get for Harold. Nike ended up having to cough up an extra $800,000 per season, for five seasons, to cover what his NSM contract called for, versus what the Heat were paying him...

By the way, Nike Sports Management also had an NFL athlete-Rick Mirer. Back in early 1993, all the NFL talk was which superspecial QB was gonna get drafted first-Drew Bledsoe or Rick Mirer? Bill Parcells saw the public wrestling match over Mourning's contract, and while weighing whether to take Mirer or Drew Bledsoe in the upcoming draft, he phoned Nike. He was told both were signed to wear Nike product, but Mirer is also signed with Nike Sports Management. He replied with, "I'll be drafting Bledsoe." And Mirer ended up having contract issues of his own...

I'm not sure what the status of Nike Sports Management is today, but this article from late 1996 seems to indicate it was being disbanded and absorbed by Nike Athlete Relations...

By the way, if you're interested in what Harold Miner is up to these days, here's a link to pretty much the only interview he's done in the past ten years.