The year was 2008 and Meenyus “MJ” Miller Jr. was barely a teenager. While all his friends were worried about the time and location of their next pick-up basketball game, MJ was already dreaming about plans for his future … as the President of his own team. “I watched a lot of basketball as a kid and realized a player’s career doesn’t last forever; in fact, it can end at any moment. You’re not promised tomorrow. So I knew I had to figure out something else to do with the rest of my life while still being involved in the game I loved.”
Fast-forward to late last year, when Miller became the youngest team owner in the Florida Basketball Association at just 26 years of age. “All I asked for was the chance to show what I could do,” said Miller, whose expansion team will be called the Brevard Bobcats. “I have been preparing for this opportunity for many years. I take my hat off to (FBA Executives) Mark King and Greg Kite, who looked beyond my age and took the time to get to know me. Once they did, they realized I knew what I was talking about and that I had a blueprint for success.”
One thing’s for certain: no one will outwork Miller, who toils tirelessly to be a good example for his one-year-old daughter, Gihanna. In addition to owning and operating the Bobcats, he currently has an IT job and also trains young athletes using the knowledge he gained at Methodist University in North Carolina, where he earned a degree in Sports Therapy. In 2017, he attended the US Olympic Sports Clinic in Miami, where he became Olympic Certified in Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology. “I tell the kids I train and the guys I coach that if they put God at the head of the table and are dedicated to their craft, anything is possible. But you have to be willing to put in the work and make sacrifices. I waited for my opportunity for a long time, and now my patience has paid off.”
Miller played semipro ball in Central Florida for two seasons but the experience was not a completely positive one for him. “I liked playing at that level but a lot of guys were only there for themselves,” recalls Miller. “You would hear people bragging about how they scored 30 points but they didn’t mention it took them 40 shots to get there … or that their team lost by 25 points. Because I was a more team-oriented guy, playing in that environment took away some of the fun.”
Miller is ready to bring an exciting brand of team basketball to the Brevard area that fans will appreciate. “I have been in this area for about 20 years and I know the community has already proven they’re receptive of professional basketball here. I hold my team to a high standard and do things right, so when people in our community hear the Brevard Bobcats name mentioned, it will give them a feeling of pride,” he explained.
Once the COVID period passes, he plans on opening a Brevard chapter of the FBA Junior League. Just after Thanksgiving, he’ll be organizing a 3-on-3 league to give his players more opportunities to play in real games. “It’s also a unique way for guys to try out for the team under fire,” says Miller. “I will even have a second group of guys I’m calling the Farmhouse team, equivalent to what a G-League team is to an NBA franchise. This gives additional players the opportunity to keep getting better and gaining more experience.”
Though Miller is new to the FBA, the league is not new to him as he’s been researching its teams for several years. “The talent level is amazing in the FBA. I have already seen the existing teams and I know the reputation of Coach AJ (Stallworth) with the other new team in Gainesville (the Mighty Oaks) – he’ll make sure they’re very good. In the FBA you have to bring it every game; if you don’t, I feel sorry for you!” Miller will also coach the team and is excited to pit his skills against the other FBA floor generals.
According to Miller, there is one big reason he decided to set up shop in Brevard County. “There is so much high-quality talent here and I am excited to be able to put it on display. I want players to know they don’t need to go to a bigger city to get exposure; they can get it right here as long as they’re willing to work their tails off. The ultimate goal of the Brevard Bobcats is helping people pursue their dreams – and I’m going to do everything within my power to help them get to the next level. I worked hard to fulfill my dream to become an owner and I will get just as much joy from watching others achieve their goals, knowing I played a part in that success.”
“Brevard has a strong minor league basketball history, going back to the Brevard Blue Ducks of the old USBL,” said Kite, the FBA Commissioner. “Meenyus has a very solid plan to impact Brevard in the same manner, putting a competitive group together while also focusing on community outreach. They had a great first showing in Gainesville, defeating the Florida Flight in the Corona Classic tournament last month. We’re pretty excited to see how they will fare in the 2021 regular season.”
The aforementioned Corona Classic was broadcast online and gained 2,500 views. “Many of those views were attributed to our fans so I know there is already a great deal of interest in us,” Miller said “There are a lot of people who are rooting for me to succeed … people who have heard about our plan and are excited to come along with us on this journey. I want the Bobcats to become one of the biggest things we have in Brevard and I’m going to do what it takes to make sure that gets done.”
The FBA is a Florida-based professional basketball league providing a development, branding and exposure platform for athletes, referees and other individuals seeking to further their professional basketball careers.