Starting Five: Tobias Harris
Orlando Magic fans have gotten to know Tobias Harris over the last two seasons as a versatile forward who is capable of piling up points in bunches.
But how well do you know Harris and his make-up off the basketball court? In this on-going OrlandoMagic.com series, Magic beat writer John Denton sat down recently with Harris to talk about his ``All Business’’ nickname, his sometimes wacky fashion sense, his work in the Orlando community and his desire to be a great player for the Magic.
Without further ado, here’s Tobias:
QUESTION: What is your one hidden talent? What is it that people don’t know about you?
TOBIAS: ``I’m not sure if it’s a talent or not, but I read a lot. Most of the time what I am reading is leadership books, books on the mind and a lot of deep stuff about spiritual stuff and Christian stuff. So most of my free time is spent reading. I try to read 1-to-2 books a month. So I use the (team) plane and game days to get in my reading.’’
QUESTION: For years, you’ve had the nickname ``All Business’’ because of your no-nonsense attitude when it comes to basketball. But what are you like away from basketball?
TOBIAS: ``I’m goofy here in there because you have to have balance in life, I’m really, really serious when I’m here in this work environment. But away from the court, I can be goody sometimes.’’
QUESTION: What did it mean to you to win the 2014 Rich and Helen DeVos Community Service award on Saturday night?
TOBIAS: ``That award means a lot to me. Just to be nominated was special and then to win it, it shows that off-the-court stuff and being in the community pays off. I’ve been able to impact a lot of people and obviously people have noticed it. The recognition is a true honor for me. I pride myself in helping people in the community however I can. Being a part of the Orlando Magic, I’m a part of this community. This is home for me. Just to be able to impact the lives of others is amazing. And all of the stuff that the Magic do with the community is great for our organization and it’s only right for me to contribute in any way that I can.’’
QUESTION: When you leave the Amway Center after games or practices, what do you do to get your mind off basketball?
TOBIAS: ``I’ll find a good restaurant to eat or I’ll hit a smoothie place. Or I’ll just get a book and read. And every now and then I’ll play some video games. I just want to have that balance of playing and life away from basketball. And I take the recovery process (after games and practices) seriously.’’
QUESTION: What’s your greatest basketball accomplishment or memory before the NBA and in the NBA?
TOBIAS: ``Being able to play at Tennessee at that Division I level, I had been dreaming about that my whole life. That was so special to me. So playing at UT and playing in the McDonald’s All-American Game, those were the two best things before I got to the NBA.
``In the NBA, I’d have to say it was my first game. Just getting out there on the court with the Bucks and realizing that I really made it, that was so cool.’’
QUESTION: Outside of your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and your basketball career?
TOBIAS: ``Other than my parents, I would have to say George Gervin. He’s a real laid-back person. But he played this game for a long time and he knows this game. He knows it inside and out. He’s given me tips and pointers since I was a young kid. He taught me to be assertive and aggressive, not only on the basketball court, but with your mind and what you want to do in life.’’
QUESTION: Your teammates sometimes give you grief about your eclectic fashion sense. And you shocked some by wearing a grey and tan suit to the ``Black Tie and Tennies’’ gala. How would you describe your style?
TOBIAS: ``Well, for anyone who saw me at the gala, they were all telling me, `Man, you are the best dressed!’ My fashion taste is more versatile. I like to kind of catch people off guard. You can’t just put me in one category because I can pull it all off.’’
QUESTION: Tell us a musical artist in your phone that would surprise people? Who is somebody that you like listening to but might be afraid to admit it publicly?
TOBIAS: ``I listen to all types of music. I listen to a lot of hip hop, but I also listen to pop and house music. I really, really like smooth jazz. I listen to some Justin Beiber. I’m not going to lie about that.’’
QUESTION: What’s it like for you are a University of Tennessee to be in Orlando surrounded by fans of the Florida Gators?
TOBIAS: ``Yesterday’s game, I was talking on Twitter and early on all of the (Florida) fans were really, really quiet. Then, when they win the game they are going crazy and bashing me on Twitter. That was tough for me, but I still love the fans. It’s a good give and take, but Florida is a top-notch program, so it’s all love from me.’’
QUESTION: You’ve said repeatedly that you want to be great at this game. What’s it going to take for you to take your game to the next level?
TOBIAS: ``The process for is just trusting in this path that God has me on. I have to trust that His will will always come through, which it always has for me. I just have to worry about the stuff that I can control and leave alone the stuff that I can’t. I just feel like if I’m a sound person on and off the court and I live my life the right way, God will take me down this path.’’