On and Off the Court, Harris Ready to Lead

by Lauren Rosen

Before training camp began, Tobias Harris was a busy man. 

“Dang, I really just took the rooks out for dinner,” Harris said recently, recalling a meal he shared with Matisse Thybulle and Marial Shayok. “It’s just crazy to me.” 

A few days later, Harris had new Sixer Josh Richardson over to hang, too. 

When it comes to Harris’ teambuilding and leadership, he's all about paying it forward.

“I had very good vets that took me under their wing, so I just want to be sure I give the same thing back,” Harris said.

Even at the young age of 27, Harris has quickly, seriously, and naturally taken on a leadership role with the 76ers.

His efforts aren’t lost on his teammates, who - often unprompted - praise Harris for his work behind the scenes. 

“Tobias has been a big influence on all of us, making sure that we’re all getting together,” 12-year veteran Al Horford said.

Whether it’s dinner with the rookies, going to the movies, or the simple act of quality time spent among peers, you can bet Harris is involved in the planning.

“I want us to really understand each other off the floor,” Harris said. 

“You tend to fight harder for your brother that you understand.”

When describing his leadership style, Harris said he knows actions speak loudest.

“I just try to go out there and try to lead by example, and the way that I work."

The young fellas are watching.

“It’s one thing to be a vocal leader, but for me, leading by example speaks even louder,” Thybulle said. "He shows up on time, he gets his shots in, he does his work.”

“[Tobias] always comes in and says what’s up to everybody, daps everybody up,” Shake Milton said. “He’s always speaking, always making sure your mental’s right.”

From his fellow starters to two-way players, Harris makes sure to check in on the entire roster.

And as much as Harris, a vocal advocate for wellness, cares for his teammates off from the court, he understands how to lock in with them between the lines.

“On the court, he’s directive, he directs guys where he wants them to be. He’s a really good leader,” Milton said.

Brown called Harris' intangibles “a priceless gift.”

“His desire, his willingness to be one of the leaders on this team, is two things," said Brown. "It’s needed, and it’s greatly appreciated."

And all of this comes in an effort to help the Sixers reach their potential.

Harris wants the 2019-20 season to be one he tells stories about.

“When my career is over, if somebody asks you, what’s the best team you played on, I’ll say it’s this group,” Harris said. “Not only because of the basketball court, but everything else off the floor - the type of characters we had.”

For an avid reader and inspiring speaker, it's a season that could have all the makings of a special story, one in which Harris figures to be one of that narrative’s leading protagonists.

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