| 7 years ago||
Oliver Miller looking to make a comeback
FORT WORTH, Texas ó Oliver Miller is hungry again. His mouth is watering.
Heís licking his lips.
The Big O wants to eat.
He is sitting inside Smokeyís BBQ on Lancaster Street
But Miller is left wanting.
This is a hankering that a side of ribs or a chopped beef sandwich canít satisfy.
The pangs of hunger happen every year at this time. Starting in winter and getting worse in the months of April, May and June ó when the NBA playoffs are in full swing.
A former standout at Fort Worth Southwest High School, Miller helped lead Arkansas to the Final Four before going to the 1993 NBA Finals with Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. And now Miller has a burning desire to play basketball again.
"I miss it a lot," Miller said. "But I hate watching. I canít watch it. The first thing you hear them talk about is the lack of a big man. Here I am a big man and Iím unemployed."
Miller, 39, is unemployed because he literally ate his way out of the game, being rejected by teams from the NBA and even the Harlem Globetrotters ( ) because of his inability to curb his appetite.
Miller watched his own demise with disgust. He has gone from being on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" to playing for the Arkansas RimRockers of the American Basketball a.ssociation in 2005, his final season.
Miller, humbled and full of regrets, just wants one final chance to play the game again.
"I have a lot of regrets," Miller said. "I hate I let myself get of hand like I did. I have been going through this all my life. Itís nobodyís fault but mine. I let myself get to where I got. Now Iím ready to play again and do the right thing."
Miller acknowledges his renewed quest to lose weight and get back in the league was sparked by the shocking death of former NBA player Kevin Duckworth of congestive heart failure at age 44. Like Miller, Duckworth battled weight problems throughout his basketball career and had weighed close to 400 pounds before his death.
Miller said Duckworthís death was an eye-opener for him.
"I donít want to be like that," Miller said.
The 6-foot-9 Miller, who watches what he eats and serves as his own trainer, plays basketball daily, either at a fitness center in Valley Ranch or another one in Irving.
He has lost weight, loads of it, trimming down from around 415 pounds to fewer than 330.
"I want to get down to 315," Miller said. "I was 400, 405, and 415 before I started working out again. I liked Smokeyís BBQ. I look at myself then and I look at myself now and itís crazy."
He is downright skinny ó or at least as skinny as the Big O has been in sometime.
And he says heís ready to play basketball professionally again.
The question is whether he will ever get that opportunity.
There is not a huge NBA market for an "old" man who has been out of the league for the past five years, his pro stints coming with the ABAís Texas Tycoons and Rim Rockers in 2004 and 2005. He last played in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2004.
But Miller says there should be room for him because when he watches the game, he not only sees a dearth of big men but also few players with his unique skills.
Miller was a big man who had a small manís game ó a soft shooting touch to go along with deft passing skills. But Miller could also play big; he was a rebounder and shot blocker extraordinaire.
"I am better than ever," Miller said. "I am in better shape than I was when I was last in the league. I am moving around quicker. I feel a lot better. I can give you 25 good minutes and a double-double. And I am a whole lot better mentally, maturity wise."
Miller understands he will probably have to show his skills off in Europe before he will get another shot in the NBA. His agent, George Bass, is working to get him with a team in the fall.
"We are talking to teams," Bass said. "They want to see what kind of shape he is in. Iíve seen him. I think he has some basketball left in him."
Miller says when teams see him they will be impressed.
Former Fort Worth Dunbar basketball player Demetric Shaw, who has played professionally all over the world since leaving Kent State in 2002, agrees. Shaw has played with and against Miller in various pickup games and tournaments in the last month and said the big man still has game.
Although his goal is to get back in the game, Miller said he will be OK if he doesnít. He probably will go into coaching otherwise. He is not broke. He is still living off the money he earned during his time in the league.
Right now, he plays a lot of golf. Of course, he wouldnít mind getting paid to play basketball again.
"What motivates me is that people donít believe me," Miller said. "I love challenges. My challenge right now is to lose more weight and get back in. I ainít trying to look like Dwight Howard. I know what I need to do. I would just like to get back in the game."
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congrats on losing so much weight, but 6'9" 315 is still fat
Last edited by Dee Grande; 06-22-2009 at 01:59 AM..