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Porter was born in Stuart, Florida. He attended Booker High School in Sarasota, Florida, where he was nicknamed "Geez" because teammates said he could leap into the air like a geyser. The highlight of his high school career occurred in 1967, when he led Booker to the Florida Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A State Basketball Championship. Porter then played collegiately at Villanova University, where he was a three time All-America selection. He took Villanova to the 1971 NCAA Championship Game, in which Villanova lost to UCLA 68-62. Porter was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after scoring 25 points in the final game. However, he was later ruled ineligible for the honor because he had signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Condors of the American Basketball Association during the middle of his senior year.
Porter never played for the Condors, instead joining the NBA's Chicago Bulls in 1971. He played seven seasons in the NBA as a member of the Bulls, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, and New Jersey Nets. His finest professional season occurred in 1976-77, when he averaged 13.2 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Pistons.
2007 disappearance and murder
Howard Porter, who was employed as a county probation officer, disappeared on May 18, 2007. He was found severely beaten in a Minneapolis, Minnesota alley in the early morning hours of May 19 and died on May 27 of injuries sustained during the assault. Local police arrested 33-year-old Tanya Washington in connection with the murder. Washington was later released by police, stating that there was not enough evidence to file charges against her.