Harris Named Finalist for Seasonlong NBA Community Assist Award

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

In the limited time that Tobias Harris has been a Philadelphia 76er, it’s been easy to tell he’s a special talent.

Turns out the 26-year old is a pretty special person, too.

Throughout his eight seasons in the NBA, Harris has made a concerted effort to use his platform to do good.

Wednesday, the league announced that he was selected as a one of ten finalists for the prestigious 2018-19 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award, presented by Kaiser Permanente.

Just how much has community outreach been part of Harris’ track record?

This is the third time he’s been nominated for the honor, having also made the cut during past stints with the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. The Long Island native is hopeful this year will indeed be the charm.

“That was always something that meant a lot for me,” Harris said of making an impact on the community, “because I knew as a kid what it mean when I met an NBA player, or an NBA player came back and gave back to the community or areas they were from.”

The impressions left by those experiences clearly left a lasting impact.  

“Ever since I started [playing], I’ve made a key emphasis of always doing more beyond the basketball court and being an inspiration to kids and a role model to kids outside the court. Hopefully I win. It’s a hard group of guys, but hey, who knows. I’m just blessed and excited to be a part of it.”

So here’s the thing. Harris needs your help to win.

Fans can have a say in the Community Assist Award by voting on Jebbit. Fans can also cast their votes for Harris on Twitter, with the hashtag #NBACommunityAssist plus either 1). Harris’ handle, @tobias31 or 2). the hashtag #TobiasHarris.

Voting is worth double on April 24th, the day the polls open, and May 5th, the date the polls close.

The recipient of the 2018-19 Seasonlong Community Assist Award will be revealed June 24th at the NBA Awards Show presented by Kia, and get a $25,000 grant to donate to the charity of his choosing.

Despite living in the limelight of professional sports, Harris has always strived to be humble, respectful, and let others share in his success.

“I’ve been blessed and fortunate to be in this position,” said Harris. “Knowing there are other people out here in this world who can use your light and you can spread that light in the best way, that’s why every day I try to look at different things where I can help and encourage.”

Values that Harris consistently puts into action.

While he hasn’t been in Philadelphia long, the veteran has big long term plans.

“There’s a lot of things I continue to want to do that I’ve done in the past, and a lot of things I have ideas about to get going and get acclimated,” he said. “I just hope all the fans vote for me, and hopefully I can win the award and win another one in years to come.”

Below, read about one of the most prominent community initiatives Harris has been involved with since joining the Sixers.

Harris Presents 'Game Changers' Panel for West Philadelphia Girls

by Lauren Rosen

In six short weeks as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, Tobias Harris has been making an impact both on and off the court.

Thursday at the Shepard Recreation Center in West Philadelphia, he hosted a panel of inspirational and powerful women from the Philadelphia community that addressed a group of 40 middle school aged girls.

Entitled Game Changers: Women in Sports, Tech & Literacy, the event featured West Philadelphia natives Maya Francis, a national writer, editor, and contributor for CNN; and Kiera Smalls, the Executive Director of Philly Startup Leaders; plus familiar faces Serena Winters, from NBC Sports Philadelphia, and Ivana Seric, one of the 76ers’ data scientists.

With National Reading Month and Women’s History Month serving as its backdrop, the Harris-led discussion included advice about academic success, finding mentors, overcoming adversity, and pursuing one’s passions.

“It was a great atmosphere and a great experience,” Harris said. “I was in awe up there, just listening.”

In putting Thursday’s program together, Harris partnered with Team Up Philly, an organization specializing in character building and holistic support of young women in Philadelphia.

“I hope that what [the girls] get out of this is the stories of dedication, and perseverance, and following your dreams,” Seric said.

Upon completion of the panel, attendees received a book - Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History by Molly Schiot - and drawstring backpack, gifts courtesy of Harris.

More than anything else, the new 76er hoped his guests took with them the following message:

“Education has to be first. You have to keep on empowering that.”

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