Column: Kami Miner, daughter of ‘Baby Jordan,’ is a rising volleyball star at Redondo Union
It was poetry in motion this week during a practice at Redondo Union High — the spring in the legs, the power in the arm and the velocity of the ball hitting the court.
Kami Miner, a 16-year-old junior volleyball standout, was producing the same kind of athletic magic celebrated 30 years ago when her father, Harold, was a teenage basketball icon at Inglewood High, then USC and later as a first-round draft pick of the Miami Heat and a two-time NBA dunk champion.
“It’s amazing,” the 48-year-old father says. “I’ve been training her since she was 9 years old. I’ve tried to instill the things I learned, good and bad, steer her the right way and teach her the mental things to watch out for.”
The daughter was named the MaxPreps national sophomore girls’ volleyball player of the year last season. She has a 4.0 grade-point average, is being pursued by Stanford and was a member of the USA youth national team that won a gold medal last month at the FIVB U18 World Championships in Egypt. She will begin the challenge of trying to lead top-seeded Redondo to a Southern Section Division 1 championship when the Sea Hawks play host to Aliso Niguel on Wednesday in a quarterfinal match.
Miner, a 6-foot setter, would never have achieved such successwithout both her parents placing their trust in her to make the decision of what sport to pursue. Harold and his wife, Pam, never questioned that she wasn’t interested in basketball. Kami started playing tennis, then soccer before discovering volleyball in third grade.
“I definitely thought it’s important that they let me try whatever sport I wanted to play,” she said. “I think that’s important for all kids, letting them be able to explore all different sports and then focusing on the one they want. Forcing a sport on someone is not exactly the best route to go, just because kids at a young age want to try everything. I’m definitely thankful they let me pick.”
The Miners used to live in Las Vegas before moving to Redondo Beach as Kami entered high school. Harold’s return to the area has allowed those who remember his dunks and athleticism in high school and college to reminisce.
Asked what she knew about her father, Kami said, “His nickname was Baby Jordan.”
She and her younger brother, seventh-grader Brayden, like to kid their father by watching highlights on YouTube of his playing days.
“Sometimes they’re tired,” Harold said. “They laugh and tell me how old I am.”
In truth, Kami is thrilled to have someone who reached the top of his sports profession to be advising and mentoring her.
“It’s awesome to have someone with that kind of perspective on the highest level of athletics to be able to mentor you, tell you and teach you about what it takes to be at a high level,” she said.
Kami says she can dunk a volleyball. Harold says he can still dunk a basketball. And Kami enjoys seeing fans recognize and remember her father’s achievements.
“It’s pretty surreal,” she said. “It’s awesome to see the love he has from the community.”
Harold thinks his daughter has a bright future.
“I always tell her I see championship stuff in her,” he said. “One day she’s going to be a champion. To see her grow as a leader and her maturity level and the way she takes control in big moments is something special to see.”
Redondo, under coach Tommy Chaffins, hasn’t lost a match, let alone a set, this season when Miner is in the lineup.
“Everyone has that mentality — we want to win a CIF championship and state championship,” Miner said.
Harold used to be pretty vocal in the bleachers. No more. He has come to trust his daughter.
“I sit back and enjoy,” he said.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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