🎥🎥🎥 JULIUS IGNACIO 🎥🎥🎥
The 2016 NBA All-Star Game will be the 65th edition and is a exhibition basketball game that will be played on Sunday, February 14, 2016. It will be held at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the Toronto Raptors.
Averaging 14.6 PPG and 7.3 RPG, Tobias “All Business” Harris has become the leader of this young, talented Orlando Magic team. Fans are encourage to post via Twitter and Facebook: “I WANT TO SEE TOBIAS HARRIS IN THE ALL-STAR GAME! #NBABALLOT #VOTEMAGIC”
The NBA All-Star game is not the only event of the weekend. The Skills Competition, Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Shootout, and the “NBA All-Rookies Game” are to be held as well.
Pick three frontcourt players and two guards from each conference by clicking the “VOTE” button. To change your pick, click the “ADDED” button. >>> Vote Tobias Harris into the NBA All Star Game Here.
Standout forward Tobias Harris has a pregame routine that works for him and he’s sticking to it no matter how much good-natured grief he has to take from his Orlando Magic teammates.
“He always comes in so early and I think he’s crazy for that,’’ Magic center Nikola Vucevic joked.
Harris’ nickname – “All Business’’ – is a product of his focused and regimented preparation for games. And it perfectly sums up just how seriously he takes his craft for the Magic (15-11), who host the rival Atlanta Hawks (16-12) on Sunday night at 6 p.m.
For 7 p.m. Magic games at the Amway Center, Harris usually arrives three hours prior to tipoff so that he can closely adhere to a pregame routine that has worked for him since he got to the NBA 4 ½ seasons ago. And for road games, Harris always takes the earliest bus possible to the arena – the one usually packed with first- and second-year players – so that he can get himself ready for tipoff.
Considering the enormous success that Harris has had – especially at the start of games – there is no need for him to change a routine that helps him get his shot, his body and his mind right before games. Of Harris’ 14.6 points per game, 5.4 points come in first quarters when he shoots a stellar 56.1 percent from the floor. To put those numbers into perspective, Harris’ first-quarter production is better than that of LeBron James (4.8 points), Kevin Love (4.8 points), Kawhi Leonard (5.2 points) and Atlanta’s Paul Millsap (5.3 points).
And since Magic coach Scott Skiles made a lineup change on Nov. 24, moves that resulted in Harris shifting from power forward back to his natural position of small forward, he’s scoring 6.4 points in first quarters – twice the amount of any other quarter – while shooting a robust 58 percent from the floor.
“I think that’s a huge role for me, trying to be one of the leaders on the team, trying to bring energy every night and keep my attitude positive to get the guys going,’’ Harris said of his fast starts. “When the game starts I care about the next guy more than myself. I know the five (Magic) guys who are out there. If we can have a collective effort with a lot of energy (at the start of games) that helps us going forward. That’s been my mindset and it’s been working.’’
Has it ever been working. In Orlando’s 102-94 defeat of Portland on Friday, Harris was dialed in from the start, scoring 13 points and swiping two steals in the first quarter alone. That strong start set Harris up for one of his best all-around games of the season as he contributed 25 points (on nine of 13 shooting), 12 rebounds and three steals.
“Tobias is having a good year,’’ Skiles raved. “He’s dependable and we know pretty much night in and night out what we’re going to get from him.’’
Skiles takes particular delight in seeing Harris’ preparation and professionalism considering that he played a big role in the start of his NBA career. Coach of the Milwaukee Bucks back in 2011, Skiles pushed for them to trade for the 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward on draft night because of his versatility on the court and his focused approach off of it. Seeing how Harris, now 23, has blossomed gives Skiles a great sense of pride.
“We never have any worry about whether Tobias is going to come ready to play,’’ Skiles said. “On a game day at 7 o’clock (for tipoff), he’s here by 4 o’clock and he has a whole regiment that he does to get himself right and ready to play. It’s fun for me to see because I had him when he was so young and it’s special seeing him now become such a professional.’’
As for Harris’ three-hour pregame routine, he gets to the arena extra early so that he can go through a detailed shooting drill from various spots all over the floor.
Following a stretching session with athletic trainers, Harris usually sprawls out on the locker room floor with a book to get his mind calmed down. Hitting the pre-game chapel session is also a must for Harris, who is often expressive about his faith. And once on the floor, Harris attacks the warm-ups with the intensity of an overtime game to get his juices flowing for the challenge ahead.
“He’s always ready and in that mindset to be ready from the beginning,’’ Vucevic said of Harris. “You can tell from his warm-up that he goes really hard to try and get warm. And before the game he’s really focused and it shows on the court with him doing what he has to do.’’
Added shooting guard Evan Fournier: “It’s nice to have Tobias playing at this level. He’s back to playing 100 percent confident (following the lineup change) and that’s what we need from him. He’s doing a lot – he’s a big (small forward), he can guard the big guys and he can shoot the three. It’s just great to have Tobias playing at this level.’’
Harris’ professionalism was a big reason why the Magic were determined to re-sign him in July not long after he became a restricted free agent. And Harris has justified the the four-year contract by posting career numbers in rebounding (7.5), assists (1.9), steals (1.1) and blocks (0.6). Harris’ scoring is down (from 17.1 ppg. to 14.6 ppg.), but that’s a sacrifice that he’s been more than willing to make in the name of the Magic having much more success this season.
“My goal this year is to just win,’’ said Harris, who has led the Magic in scoring five times and in rebounding 10 times. “I’m going to win by any means and try to go out there and have our team on the right page to be able to win at the end of the game.
“Having a contract is great and it takes the pressure off my back a little bit, but at the end of the day I’m still going to go out there and play like I’m fighting for my next deal,’’ Harris continued. “That’s just been my mindset since I was a kid until now. I’m never satisfied with my play or our team’s play. I think we can always be better.’’
That, Harris said, is why he will continue to arrive at the arena long before his teammates and stick with a routine that helps him be successful. After all, winning is what matters most after seeing the Magic struggle mightily the past three seasons. Like their focused forward, this Orlando team under Skiles is “All Business’’ – just the way Harris likes it.
“We’re not content with where we are right now. We feel like each and every day we can be better,’’ Harris said on Friday night following Orlando’s third straight victory and their ninth win in the past 12 games. “Winning is contagious and everybody in this locker room has that feeling now. It’s like a little itch that we have to keep going for because it feels good every day coming to practice, playing in front of our fans and (having) our fans knowing that we should be winning these games. I think that’s one of the best feelings.’
Restricted free agent forward Tobias Harris has agreed to re-sign with the Magic on a four-year, $64 million contract, according to RealGM.com and NBA.com. The deal, which kicks in for the 2015-16 season and runs through 2018-19, reportedly doesn’t include any options.
“When I first came to the NBA, I wanted to just really be here for more than four years,” Harris told the Orlando Sentinel. “You know, that’s the average expectancy as an NBA player. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be in Orlando, to get an opportunity where I can showcase my game and be on a great team with great teammates and a great organization.”
Harris, 22, averaged 17.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists last season for Orlando, who acquired him from Milwaukee in a 2013 trade. The 2011 first-round pick distinguished himself as a bright spot on one of the league’s worst offenses, becoming one of just four players 22-and-under to average at least 17 points last season. Thanks to a big, physical frame and a developing perimeter game, Harris projects as a lead scoring option capable of playing both forward positions. SI.com ranked Harris as the No. 22 player on our “Top 25 Free Agents of 2015” list.
If Harris is going to live up to his $16 million average annual salary, he will need to display better commitment on the defensive end. The Magic’s defense was nearly four points worse with Harris on the court last season, and his -2.21 Defensive Real Plus-Minus ranked No. 77 among small forwards. Harris has all the makings of a talented, multi-threat scorer, but he’s not so talented that he can get away with being a one-way floater.
Financially, Orlando had no major issue paying up to Harris, as the bulk of Orlando’s 2015-16 rotation—Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier and Mario Hezonja—is on low-cost rookie deals. GM Rob Hennigan has been extra prudent during the post-Dwight Howard era, and Harris joins center Nikola Vucevic as the first two youngsters in the pipeline to get paid. Even if Hennigan and his front office weren’t totally sold on Harris as a star in the making, they possessed the flexibility to pay to keep Harris and postpone the “Is he the long-term go-to guy?” question for another year or two.
On the Road: Magic forward Tobias Harris always packs a good book
by Tim Newcomb Even though Harris is one of the league’s most anonymous major-dollar players, Orlando need not be subjected to accusations of overpaying: multiple teams were reportedly lining up with max-type offer sheets, and a similarly strong market should be there down the road if other members of the Magic’s young group emerge as brighter lights. Hennigan and his organization have some sweat equity in Harris, and reason to believe he can blossom into a difference-maker in relatively short order. That’s reason enough to keep him in the fold.
Good Men Project Sr. Sports Editor, Mike Kasdan, speaks with rising NBA star, Tobias Harris of the Orlando Magic, who shares insights into life as a young player in the NBA. We had the opportunity to speak with the 22 year-old Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris over the NBA All-Star Weekend. Although Harris hails from Long Island, he wasn’t in New York for the festivities, instead choosing to relax and gear up for the second half of the season in his now-home of Orlando. Next year he may not have that luxury. Now in his 4th year in the NBA, after a one-and-done year as a “point-forward” at University of Tennessee, Harris is finally getting his opportunity in Orlando, and he is breaking out in a major way. Harris is currently averaging 17 points and 6.5 rebounds a game.
Only 22 years old, Harris has had a bit of a whirlwind few years in the NBA. He was drafted at the age of 18 years by Charlotte and then traded on draft night to Milwaukee. After learning NBA basketball for a year in Milwaukee, he then got a taste of the business of the NBA when he was traded during his second year. Armed with tremendous physical gifts and a strong work ethic, Tobias Harris is now blossoming in Orlando:
“This league is all about opportunity and confidence, and I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity when I got here. The organization has been great and instilled a lot of confidence in here since I’ve arrived here, and I’m very grateful for that . . . I never want to take any of this time for granted, and I just want to continue to learn and get better as a player.”
Harris realizes that young players coming in to the NBA face a tremendous challenge, both mentally and physically. He does believe that the NBA does a good job integrating and preparing young players for what will come:
“Part of its on the player. But everything is there for you in the NBA . . . You just need to take advantage of it.”
For Harris, getting playing time and the opportunity was key. So was being prepared for that opportunity:
“Even when I wasn’t playing, I put in the work. I live by the motto that hard work is always going to come through for you. If you stay working hard, good things are going to happen. Good comes to those who do good. That’s what I live by and what I’ve told others.”
Harris’ dream of playing in the NBA started in elementary school. His biggest inspiration remains his childhood best friend and basketball running mate, Morgan Childs, who he grew up with. Morgan passed away in high school after a battle with leukemia:
“It was a reality check for me. That if I wanted this, I needed to pursue it. He inspired me to take my goals on head on and to make them happen. And that’s why I wear #12. That was Morgan’s number.”
In terms of role models, he looks up to his father, who has worked hard not just for Harris but for all of the children in the family. He strongly believes that it is important to be a role model in the world:
“You’re on TV a lot. You’re in the spotlight. On a big pedestal. You need to do right on and off the court. I love kids and I know when kids are watching what I do, I know I’m not going to let them down.”
Harris walks the walk too. He is involved in numerous philanthropic and community efforts, many involving children.
On the court, Harris is having a blast on a young talented Orlando Magic team that includes Victor Oladipo, Nik Vucevic, and Elfrid Payton. He also has the good fortune to be playing alongside his cousin, Channing Frye, who has taken him under his wing. They have a lot of growing to do, but Harris is excited about their future. It seems that the NBA is in an extended Golden Age. It does not suffer from the concussion or domestic violence problems that have ravaged the NFL, or the steroids and performance enhancing drug problems of MLB. And there is a crop of fresh new stars, long talented athletic guys who can shoot and handle the ball and dominate, guys like Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Tobias Harris is one of those stars. He is a grounded young man who works hard and has a strong foundation. And he’s beginning to soar.
Passengers aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 779 arriving from Atlanta and customers heading to Philadelphia on Flight 1544 got a unique and entertaining experience on Monday at Orlando International Airport.
Orlando Magic players Tobias Harris and Kyle O’Quinn, Magic Dancers and STUFF, the Magic mascot, showed up to surprise passengers at Gate 120 and help make their flights even more fun and enjoyable.
The players joined forces with Southwest Airlines employees to work a scheduled flight, direct the aircraft to the terminal, assist customers at the gate podium, help load bags into the aircraft, assist with flight safety and hand out snacks and souvenirs.
“It was fun to be here and see the excitement,” Harris said. “Everybody was surprised. Gate 120 was pretty bumping today. I wanted to help everyone out.”
It was also a special time for Brayden Harper, a local 3-year-old boy battling cancer (neuroblastoma). As part of the Make a Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida, Harper was invited to meet the Magic players and participate in all the fun.
“Truly a blessing to be asked to come do this,” said Bonnie Harper, mother of Brayden. “This was a wish enhancement for us because he loves basketball so much.”
After experiencing what it’s like to be a Southwest Airlines staff member and take tremendous pride in top-notch customer service, Harris and O’Quinn now have great appreciation for the jobs people in this industry do.
“When you fly in your off time, you appreciate these people and make sure you say hello,” O’Quinn said. “Guys say they do like six to eight flights a day. That’s a lot of work. It was fun, especially for the kids.”
Even people who were not passengers on the incoming or outgoing flight took part in the fun. Fans from all over the world got a chance to meet the Magic players and dancers and take pictures with them.
Now is your chance to vote Tobias Harris and your favorite Orlando Magic players into the 2015 NBA All Star Game at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Fans can vote on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
NBA All-Star Balloting 2015 presented by Sprint gives fans around the world the opportunity to vote daily for their favorite players as starters for NBA All-Star Game 2015. The official NBA All-Star Ballot presented by Sprint will include all current NBA players for the first time ever. Fans will continue to select two guards and three frontcourt players when choosing the starters for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, but can now vote for any current NBA player.
Click this link to begin voting: http://www.nba.com/magic/allstar
Playing in the backend of their first back-to-back of the season, the Orlando Magic traveled to Philadelphia to play the 76ers. After a hard fought loss at the hands of the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night, the Magic fought with the Sixers all game, before Tobias Harris hit a buzzer beater to give the Magic a 91-89 win, their first of the season.
Early in the game, Orlando terrorized Philadelphia with their pace, getting up and down on a handful of possessions. With Elfrid Payton pushing it, the Magic tallied nine of their 26 points on the break. However, they struggled with turnovers yet again, coughing it up nine times in the quarter. Tony Wroten led all scorers with 11 in the quarter, while Nikola Vuceivc once again got the Magic going early knocking down 4-of-5 in the quarter en route to eight points.
Yet again, turnovers were an issue for the Magic in the second quarter. They coughed it up eight more times, leading to five points for the Sixers. Philadelphia continued knocking down three-pointers, while the Magic continued to miss, before Channing Frye finally knocked one down late in the half. Vucevic led the way for the Magic, finishing with 12 points in the half, while Wroten continued to lead the Sixers, finishing with 15 in the opening half.
Out of halftime, the Magic looked sluggish, allowing the Sixers to go on a 12-4 run to open the quarter. However, Orlando would answer, going on a 12-2 run of their own later in the quarter to tie the game up. Brandon Davis knocked down 4-of-5 from the field to lead the Sixers with nine in the quarter. Channing Frye knocked down all three of his shots to lead the Magic with seven in the quarter.
With the game close, the Magic turned to the one and only… Ben Gordon! Wait, what? Yes, Ben Gordon got the Magic going in the fourth quarter with six early points. After taking a six point lead, Wroten led the Sixers on a 10-2 run to grab an 87-85 lead with under two minutes to play. Elfrid Payton would not let the Magic die, however, tying the game up at 87, before forcing a big turnover and finding Tobias Harris to give the Magic an 89-87 lead. After Henry Sims tied it up with 4.6 seconds left, Tobias Harris hit a long two for the buzzer beater for the Magic win.
Five Magic men finished in double figures, led by Harris’ 18 points and eight rebounds. Vucevic, who failed to record a double-double for the first time this season, finished with 17 on the night. Ben Gordon scored 15 off the bench, while Channing Frye notched his first double-double with the team, finishing with finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Evan Fournier was the final Magic man in double figures, finishing with 10.
Philadelphia was led by Wroten, who finished with a game high 27. Brandon Davies notched a career high with 20 points, while K.J. McDaniels scored 12 off the bench.
USA Basketball announced Tuesday that the Orlando Magic’s Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo have been chosen for the 2014 USA Men’s Select Team that will train with the USA Basketball Men’s National team in Las Vegas July 28-31.
Harris and Oladipo are joined on the roster by Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); Trey Burke (Utah Jazz); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks); Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls); Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets); Miles Plumlee (Phoenix Suns); Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers); and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets).Oladipo played in 80 games (44 starts) and averaged 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and a team-high 1.61 steals for the Magic last season. He was twice named NBA rookie of the month, finished second in rookie of the year voting and was named to the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie first team.
Harris averaged career highs in points (14.6) and rebounds (7) while playing in 60 games for the Magic during the 2013-14 season. He led (or tied) the Magic in scoring 13 times and in rebounding 16 times.
“USA Basketball’s Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team managing director.
“Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team.”