The 2nd inductee of the Most Obscure NBA Bobblehead Collection is former high school phenom, Darius Miles. Darius played 7 years in the NBA and is probably best known for his time with the Los Angeles Clippers where he formed a pretty exciting young and athletic nucleus that included Quentin Richardson, Lamar Odom, Corey Maggette and Keyon Dooling. Occasionally exciting high light reel plays from Miles didnt lead to any form of team success. That team, along with players Elton Brand and #1 overall draft bust, Michael Olowokandi, were a combined 70-94 in Darius Miles’ 2 years with the Clippers. Miles was soon shipped out of Clippers town to begin his number of NBA stops in his very short and disappointing career. As part of our Obscure Bobblehead Collection, we have Miles donning Cleveland Caviliers’ white, blue and orange, one of his least memorable stints in his NBA career.
This is the criteria that I have established for this collection of the Most Obscure NBA Bobbleheads:
- A complete unknown player with a below average to almost none existent NBA career. (e.g., Reese Gaines, Zendon Hamilton, Kenny Battle…don’t know any of these guys? Exactly!)
- Good NBA player with little fan fare (e.g., Alvin Adams, Rod Strickland, Sedale Threat)
- Player known or celebrated for being bad or mediocre (e.g., Jack Haley, Jon Koncak)
- Player with troubled past or recent legal troubles (e.g. Keon Clark, Isiah Rider)
- Great player with a jersey of a team they are not known for in their career. (e.g., Hakeem in Toronto, Jordan in Washington)
Most Obscure NBA Bobblehead Collection: #2. Darius Miles
A little about Darius Miles’ NBA career:
Miles possessed a number of physical tools: stood 6-9, long wingspan, superb athletic ability and quickness for a player his size. Miles handled the ball well for a guy at 6’9 and his movement was fluid on the court. Those set of natural abilities is what propelled Miles to a high lottery pick straight out of High School. The Los Angeles Clippers selected Miles with the 3rd overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft and were hoping that he’d help form a formidable young, fast and exciting group with Odom, Dooling, Maggette and fellow rookie from the same 2000 draft, Quentin Richardson.
What made Miles a fan favorite early on in his career is his flair for the game with his high flying dunks. Here’s a clip that displays his fluid motion, ball handling ability, quickness and explosiveness to the basket.
Miles and the young, exciting core of the Clippers didn’t pan out and after 2 seasons, Miles was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for point guard Andre Miller. Miles had a sub par first year with Cleveland. The following season, the Cavs landed Lebron James with the 1st pick overall pick and had little use for Darius who played the same position. Miles was traded to the Portland Trailblazers mid season for Jeff McGinnis and Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje.
Miles showed promise in his half season with the Blazers, averaging 12.6 points per game and shooting 52.6 percent from the field in 42 games. Still only 22 years of age and showing the Blazers his tremendous upside, Miles hit pay dirt, signing a 6 year, 48 million dollar contract with the Blazers. It is at this point that his career started to take a dive.
The following season, Miles was suspended for getting into a shouting match with coach Maurice Cheeks. The episode, along with Miles constant tardiness and interpersonal problems caused Cheeks so much anguish that he contemplated quitting. He didn’t have to quit as 2 months after the incident with Miles, he was fired by the Blazers. The following season, Miles suffers a devastating knee injury 40 games into the season that ends his season, and ultimately his career.
Miles has micro fracture surgery that cost him the following 2 full NBA seasons. The Blazers waived Miles at the end of the 2007-08 season after being deemed by doctors that the damage to Miles’ right knee was severe enough to qualify as a career-ending. The Blazers were to be beneficiaries of 18 million dollar cap relief as a result of what was supposed to be the end of Miles’ career due to the injury.
In an interesting twist, Miles signed a contract with the Boston Celtics the following season and appeared in 6 pre-season games. Miles failed to make the Celtics team and was waived prior to the start of the 2008-09 regular season; however, the Blazers were now in danger of losing out on the 18 million dollar in cap relief once Miles played in 10 games. The Blazers sent out a warning of legal action to all 29 NBA teams if they attempted to sign Miles to an NBA contract. The NBA Player’s Association and NBA denounced the Blazers’ actions. In response to the Blazers warning, NBA submitted a memo to all NBA teams that Miles had cleared waivers and was eligible to be signed to an NBA contract. The Memphis Grizzlies did exactly that and signed Miles for the rest of the season, nullifying the cap relief that the Blazers were set to receive. This marked the end of Miles playing career in the NBA.
Miles was incredibly talented and possessed amazing athletic ability packaged in an ideal tall and long NBA body, but lacked those intangibles that you just cant measure in Pre-draft camps, scouting reports or videos. He had trouble with authority, lacked maturity and professionalism. Even despite all of those personal faults, Miles was still young and had time to turn his career around; but, in the end a devastating knee injury never provided him that opportunity. 9 years after entering the NBA in 2000, Miles’ time had run out. Today its 14 years after it began and already its almost forgotten.
NBA Career Stats:
7 NBA Seasons / 446 regular season games
10.1 Points per game
4.9 Rebounds per game
47.2 FG percentage
1.1 Blocks per game
Why was this bobblehead made?
Upper Deck included Darius Miles in their 2002-2003 NBA Play Makers Bobble head NBA edition. In addition to Miles, the collectible special edition included Lakers’ Shaquille O’ Neal, Kobe Bryant, 76ers’ Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Chris Webber and Kevin Garnett, to name a few. The collectibles came with an Upper Deck collector card and a select few of the Bobble Heads were mounted on a base of actual NBA game-used floor; Miles was not one of those bobbleheads.
What makes this bobblehead obscure?
Miles lackluster NBA career, his off the court problems, combined with this short and unmemorable stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, makes this particular NBA bobblehead obscure.
Previous Most Obscure NBA Bobblehead Collection inductees:
Most Obscure NBA Bobblehead Collection: #1 Keon Clark
– Fern Rea
Twitter: @fullcourtfern and @raining3sdotcom