Detroit’s Reggie Harding and talent wasted

September 5, 2012 in Professional

By Patrick Hayes

Neil Rubin of The Detroit News has a story that isn’t any kind of joy to read, but it’s still important to read tragedies nonetheless. Rubin looks back on the life of former Detroit Eastern standout and NBA big man Reggie Harding. From the story:

Technically speaking, he would have been 70 this year. Realistically, he was no more likely to reach 70 than most of us are to reach the NBA.

In his teens, he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons straight out of Eastern High School. In his 20s, he was comic relief, the big dope who assured one judge after another that he’d learned his lesson.

In reality, he was a drug addict and possibly a rapist, and there’s nothing funny about that. But there may be something instructive in his story, and history isn’t always heroic.

Harding’s name will always be associated with being the first player ever drafted into the NBA without playing college basketball first, but because his life off the court was such a mess, his more lasting legacy is of wasted talents and opportunities.

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