Harding during his tenure with the Chicago Bulls, 1967.
May 4, 1942|
September 2, 1972 (aged 30)|
|Listed height||7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)|
|Listed weight||249 lb (113 kg)|
|High school||Eastern (Detroit, Michigan)|
|NBA draft||1962 / Round: 4 / Pick: 29th overall|
|Selected by the Detroit Pistons|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Reginald "Reggie" Harding (May 4, 1942 – September 2, 1972) was an American professional basketball player. Drafted in 1962 by the Detroit Pistons, Harding is noted as the first player drafted into the NBA without having played in college, Harding spent five years in the NBA; playing for the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and later the Indiana Pacers. Harding also played for the Trenton Colonials which was a part of the Continental Basketball Association.
A native of Detroit, Michigan and a 1961 graduate of Eastern High School, Harding, a 7'0" center, was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the fourth round of the 1962 NBA Draft and later in the six round of the 1963 draft after playing for a year with the Holland Oilers of the MPBL. Harding first played for the Pistons during the 1963–64 season. In four seasons with the Pistons and Chicago Bulls, Harding averaged 9.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, and also spent part of 1967–68 with the ABA's Indiana Pacers, averaging 13.4 points and 13.4 rebounds in 25 games.
Personal issues and death
Harding's basketball career was cut short by a number of personal problems. Harding spent time in jail, often struggled with drug addictions, and was rumored to carry a pistol in his gym bag. During a television interview, Harding threatened to shoot the Indiana Pacers' general manager, Mike Storen. Harding also reportedly threatened to shoot teammate Jimmy Rayl while the two were rooming together. According to Peter Benjaminson's The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard, Harding raped Florence Ballard, a member of The Supremes, at knifepoint in 1960. Harding was shot dead at a Detroit intersection in 1972, aged 30.
- Dupree, David (12 June 1977). "Even Without College Experience Play of Dawkins May Someday Match His Ego and Personality". The Washington Post.
- Slam Online - Signed to the Streets : The often-troubled Reggie Harding, the first player ever drafted by the NBA without playing college ball, was the poster child for unreached potential in the 1960s, a time before player development and assistant coaches could steer guys in the right direction - May 28, 2015
- Pluto, Terry (2007) [originally published 1990]. Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association (paperback ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 139–142. ISBN 978-1-4165-4061-8. OCLC 153578380.
- Sachare, Alex. The Chicago Bulls Encyclopedia. Chicago: Contemporary, 1999
- Benjaminson, Peter. The Lost Supreme: the Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2008. 22-23.
- PopGates - The Devil And Reggie Harding - May 9, 2017
- Reusse, Patrick. "And the winner for stupidity by an athlete is ...". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. 30 May 1998.