When it was first reported that Terrel Harris was in training camp with the Miami Heat this year, I think everyone had generally the same reaction I did: “oh that’s cool that he’ll be able to tell his grandchildren someday that he was used as an unpaid statue upon which one of the ten best players ever dunked for that one lockout-shortened preseason back in 2011.”
Well the dunking prop just graduated, is now a full-time member of the team, and has a guaranteed contract worth $473,000. You can give me 1/3 of that and LeBron, or really any member of his posse, can dunk on me whenever they please.
The best part of the Harris story is that he basically just told the Heat before the season started, “hey guys, I’m going to show up at training camp, see y’all in a few weeks,” then showed up, played hard, and worked himself onto the team. It’s like the lifelong American dream jammed into a two month period.
He didn’t even have an agent, as Ethan Skolnick reports:
[Harris] spent two seasons in the NBA Development League as well as some time in Germany before calling Heat VP of player personnel Chet Kammerer and requesting a chance.
TH has career averages of nine points, four boards, and three assists in splitting time between those two different D-league teams. Kinda makes you wonder why JamesOn can’t make it.
He’s been the first guy outside of the 10-man rotation the Heat have running out there, averaging a point and three boards a game with a PER (explained here) of 13.2, which would be higher than Jordan Crawford, Michael Beasley, and Trevor Ariza if he’d played enough minutes to qualify.
When Harris got the call on Tuesday, he was surprised:
I really didn’t even know. I thought the deadline was on Friday. I didn’t really know it was (Tuesday). Then my agent told me and I was getting a lot of congratulations. I was like `I guess I did make it.’
My favorite anecdote though is how pumped Harris was about getting a pair of Jordan 11s delivered to the locker room that day. He even talked about it when interviewed:
The Jordans can’t compare to this because this is a job. That’s material stuff. This is my life. I’m doing what I love to do and getting paid for it on the best team in the NBA. Coming from nothing to extraordinary is overwhelming.
You were just given a potentially life-altering guaranteed contract for the best team in the NBA and you’re talking about a pair of shoes in your interview!! I’m telling you, that version of the Js has mind-bending capabilities, it might legitimately be inflicted with some kind of spirit. I’m not kidding.
Anyway, congrats to Harris. He always played hard at OSU, always kept his mouth shut, and never really got the development he deserved in college under the Suttons and a year of Ford.
Also, did we know that Harris has a brother who plays point guard and is one of the 125 best players in the country for the 2013 class. He plays point guard, guys!