The Player


Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris is Inspired By His Grandfather, a Tuskegee Airman

By Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

If Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris ever needs inspiration, he never has to look outside his own family.

His 90-year-old grandfather, Lt. Col. John Mulzac, is a role model.

In 1942, when the armed forces were segregated, Mulzac joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. He became one of America’s first black military pilots, a group known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

“He always told us as kids that we could do anything in this world if we put our mind to it,” Harris said, a smile on his face. “He’s been definitely an inspiration to me, and I love him to death.”

NCAA Tournament Bracket: Fill in your teams and print your bracket

On Wednesday night, Mulzac plans to turn on his TV in the Brooklyn, N.Y., home he shares with his wife of 67 years and watch the Magic face the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix.

Two of John and Beatrice Mulzac’s grandsons will play in the game: Harris and Suns power forward Channing Frye.

“The most important things that I do have is my wife, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren and all my family,” Mulzac told the British Broadcasting Corporation several years ago.

Mulzac doesn’t do many interviews anymore, but through one of his daughters — Tobias’ mom, Lisa Harris — he said he’s “proud” of his two grandsons in the NBA.

They’re just as proud of him.

Early in World War II, Mulzac and several other black servicemen were traveling from the north to Tuskegee, Ala., when they sat in the back of a crowded train car for a meal. When their food arrived, a conductor pulled a curtain that separated them from the white passengers.

Mulzac, who grew up in Brooklyn, wondered what was happening.

One of his friends told him they were being segregated from white people because they were south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

“I put my head down on the table and I cried,” Mulzac said when he spoke to the BBC.

But he still fought for his country.

He flew combat missions in Italy and North Africa during World War II. Later, he flew as a reservist in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

He also worked in New York City’s fire department and as a sky marshal.

“He was just a hard-working man who wanted to see his children do better than he did,” Lisa Harris said.


Lisa is one of John’s and Beatrice’s eight children.

She is close with her sister Karen, who is Channing’s mom.

Channing said his mom and his aunt — Tobias’ mother — have similar personalities.

“They come from a big family,” Channing said. “They’re tight-knit, and they are competitors, and I think it’s really been passed down to all of us.”

Tobias knew from an early age that he wanted to play professional basketball.

Channing, who is nine years older, set an example.

“As a kid, I used to watch all his college games at Arizona,” Tobias said. “I used to know all his stats. So I followed him. . . . It made me want to get in the NBA even more. He’s somebody I looked up to. I just always wanted to get to the NBA and be at that same level.”

When the Magic face the Suns on Wednesday night, the two first cousins might even guard each other at times.

Tobias will feel gratified that his grandfather will be able to watch the game.

“He’s very proud of me,” Tobias said. “He’s watched me ever since I was a kid. We always used to play in the city, so he got a chance to come to a lot of my games. He’s seen me grow from a little, fat, chubby kid to where I’m at now.”

Indiana vs Orlando

Meet Tobias Harris and Nik Vucevic at Orlando Fashion Square Mall on Sunday, March 16th

In celebration of the Orlando Magic’s official partnership with UP Development and Orlando Fashion Square, Magic players Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic along with Orlando Magic Dancers will meet fans at the Orlando Fashion Square to sign autographs, take photos and participate in basketball drills. There will also be contests and special Magic ticket giveaways, courtesy of Orlando Fashion Square. The public is invited to attend this free event.


  • Meet Magic Forward Tobias Harris and Magic Dancers
    Sunday, March 16, 2014
    3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Meet Magic Center Nikola Vucevic and Magic Dancers
    Sunday, March 16, 2014
    4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Orlando Fashion Square Basketball Court
3201 E Colonial Dr., Orlando, 32803

*Event is open to the public.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic

With Great Efficiency, Tobias Harris Scores Career High 31 Over the 76ers

By Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post

With Nelson and Afflalo out of the lineup, Harris had to take on a larger offensive role for Orlando, and he delivered. His raw point total of 31 certainly stands out, but his efficiency bears noting as well: the third-year forward shot 11-of-20 from the foor and 9-of-9 from the foul line, and he committed just one turnover.

“I just play my heart out and whatever happens happens,” Harris said. “I just give 100 percent effort for our team. Anything I can do for us to win is what I wanna do.”

“They were focusing a lot on Nik [Vučević] tonight so I saw a lot of openings, spacing wise, and I wanted to use that to my advantage.” Tobias Harris

Harris said he approached the game with an aggressive, attacking mentality. That much was evident early, as he scored eight of Orlando’s first 10 points of the game. Harris also recognized that attention center Nik Vučević drew would create scoring opportunities for him.

“They were focusing a lot on Nik tonight so I saw a lot of openings, spacing wise, and I wanted to use that to my advantage,” Harris said.

All three of Vučević’s assists on the night led to scores for Harris, each resulting from the seven-footer’s drawing Harris’ defender away from him, Harris finding open space, and then Vučević making the right pass.

Harris set his career-high in scoring by draining a pair of foul shots with 14 seconds to play. The former Volunteer felt prepared to take those shots and, as such, “wasn’t sweating” the prospect of missing them. “Before every game I try to make 10 free throws in a row,” he said, “just to get my mind going.”

Counting Sunday’s game, Harris has four performances of 20-plus points in his last six outings. He’s averaging 20.8 points on 64.2 percent True Shooting despite connecting on 25 percent of his three-pointers.


Trade to Orlando From Milwaukee “Sparked” Harris

By John Denton of

Tobias Harris is the type of athlete who practically oozes confidence out his every pore. On the basketball court, there is no situation that scares him and no moment too big for him.

He’ll take – and make – big shots, as proven by his game-winning dunk against Oklahoma City two weeks ago. And Harris has no hesitation when it comes to his position on the floor, willingly playing either small forward or power forward against bigger players.

But Harris’ seemingly unshakeable confidence was admittedly rattled this time a year ago when he was traded by the Milwaukee Bucks to the Orlando Magic. Harris was plenty excited about the chance for more playing time in Orlando, but he was also baffled by another team giving up on him. It opened his eyes to the realities of professional basketball and his need to make big strides in Orlando.

“Now, I feed off my own energy. That comes from being in Milwaukee, not playing and getting traded,’’ Harris said of the transaction last Feb. 21. “It showed me that the NBA can go by so fast. Each and every game, I never take it for granted. I approach every game the same way. The night before the game and during the game, I approach it the same way. It just comes from learning the game.’’

With the one-year anniversary of Harris’ trade to Orlando quickly approaching, it’s only fitting that the Magic (16-38) are in Milwaukee tonight to face the Bucks (9-43). Harris, Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih were acquired by the Magic just minutes prior to the trade deadline last February in exchange for J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith. Harris said on Tuesday that he hopes the Magic can come out and play well tonight and set a tone for the second half of the season.

“Tonight is a big game for us coming off the all-star break because you can find out a lot about teams this time of year,’’ Harris said. “My mindset is for us to go out here and excel and come out with the win. For the last 28 games, my mindset is to see how many we can win. Let’s make a push and go as far as we can and grow.’’

Harris was buried on the bench and not playing in Milwaukee at the time of the trade. And the 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward made the most of his time in Orlando following the trade, averaging 17.5 points and 9.3 rebounds on an injury ravaged Magic team where he was the featured player.

But Harris admitted on Tuesday that hearing the initial news that he had been traded was shocking to the senses for him. Luckily for him, he had a former NBA standout and a fellow University of Tennessee product to give him a good piece of advice.

“It was eye-opening for me as a player to realize that the NBA is a business and it showed me that this league is a lot about confidence,’’ Harris said. “When I got traded from here, to begin with I was at first discouraged because I was here in Milwaukee. One of the first persons who called me was Dale Ellis, who played here. He was just telling me, `Don’t ever think that just because they traded you, that doesn’t mean they don’t think that you can play. You can play in this league for a long time and when you get to Orlando you need to have that type of confidence.’

“That just pushed me to get better and grow,’’ Harris added. “It’s a trade that sparked me as a basketball player and my career. I’m truly blessed to be in this position.’’

Early in the season, Harris had to overcome a serious ankle injury that knocked him out of action for seven weeks. He’s since had to adjust his game to playing alongside of leading scorer Arron Afflalo, guards Jameer Nelson and Victor Oladipo and center Nikola Vucevic.

Harris came into Tuesday’s game against his former team averaging 13.7 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. He’s impressed Magic coach Jacque Vaughn with his serious approach to the game and his willingness to put in the work to improve his skills.

“Overall, he loves playing the game of basketball. He loves being around the game and competing,’’ Vaughn said. “Those are qualities that you want in guys in your locker room.’’

Harris has impressed upon his teammates his seriousness about basketball and his wiliness to work to improve his game. That approach earned him the nickname of “All Business’’ early in life and it has endeared him with his Magic coaches. Harris, 21, takes serious the notion that if he can improve in the days, weeks and months ahead that it will greatly help the Orlando Magic make tremendous strides.

“My father instilled that in me since I was a kid,’’ Harris said of his advanced maturity. “Going through high school, college and the NBA, he always said if I wanted something to go out and get it and that’s how I looked at it. As a player, this is my job. People get up and go to work from 9-to-5. Well, this is what I call my 9-to-9 because that’s how I approach it. I give 100 percent focus to the game and what I have to do to help my team. I want us to be a great team and I know my role is important here.’’

Harris is Orlando’s second-best rebounder behind Vucevic, one of its go-to scorers late in games and late in the shot clock and arguably its best hustler when it comes to running the fastbreak. The area where he needs improvement, however, is shot selection and sharing the ball better with his team. Vaughn said he’s talked to Harris about how becoming a more efficient player will be the next step of progression for him. He’s hoping that Harris can learn from Afflalo, who is posting career-best numbers across the board this season.

“He’s still growing (in the efficiency area),’’ Vaughn said. “Arron is a little older and it took him a few years to realize how efficiency can help your game. Tobias is getting there. And with time and the more he’s around us, the more he’ll learn about it.’’

Harris said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve his game. His trade from Milwaukee a year ago was an eye-opener, and he said he wants to become the type of player who will be in Orlando for years to come and never have to deal with getting traded again.

“Being a part of this young core – just my name being affiliated with that – it’s special, really,’’ he said. “I’d love to be in Orlando as long as I can be. I love it here (in Orlando), I love the city and I love the fans. And I love playing (in Orlando). I’m a player who loves basketball, so to be in a good situation with a young team and a great organization is a big key for me.’’

Tobias Harris Slams Down a Buzzer Beater Dunk to Victory Against the Oklahoma City Thunder

By John Denton of


When he and his Orlando Magic teammates are trying to simulate tense, game-ending situations in practice, Tobias Harris usually has a joke that elicits hearty laughter.

“I’m always the guy who says, `If you need a game-winner, throw it to me!’’’ Harris recalled with a chuckle.

But not even the ultra-confident Harris could have envisioned just how his game-winner would unfold Friday night for the surging Magic against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

All in the matter of a blurred 2.9 seconds, Victor Oladipo outfought two foes for a loose ball, passed ahead to Maurice Harkless, who somewhat shockingly flipped the ball back to a trailing Harris, who dunked as time expired. The frenetic final sequence – one that typified the kind of selfless play Orlando exhibited all night – gave the Magic a pulsating 103-102 victory that had the Amway Center crowd throbbing with raw emotion.

“It was good to get out there and back (his practice prediction) up and get the win,’’ a relieved Harris said well after the shocking victory.

USA Today

Tobias Harris’ Career High 34 Points Helps Magic Beat the Lakers in Overtime

By Ken Hornack of FoxSports – With the help of a career-high 34 points from Tobias Harris, the Orlando Magic gave James Borrego a victory in his first game as their interim coach and snapped a 10-game losing streak.

Harris scored four of the Magic’s first six points in overtime Friday night as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 103-97. It was their first victory since Jan. 14 against the Houston Rockets and came in their first game since the firing of head coach Jacque Vaughn on Thursday.

Nikola Vucevic added 25 points for the Magic, whose streak of 14 consecutive games of giving up more than 100 points came to an end. They held the Lakers to 13 points in the fourth quarter and six in overtime.Elfrid Payton put the Magic ahead to stay at 95-94 with only his second field goal of the game. Harris’ 17-footer and Victor Oladipo’s dunk off a steal padded their lead.

The Magic trailed 52-38 at halftime after committing 13 turnovers, which the Lakers converted into 20 points. But they turned the ball over just six more times the rest of the way.

The Magic went into the game tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the fewest victories at home this season (5) and had only a 4-30 record in games where they trailed going into the fourth quarter.

Harris, who had 28 points and 20 rebounds against the Lakers in their last visit to Orlando, hit 14 of his 18 shots and also came up with a key block during overtime.

Harris Says Team Must Adopt Must-Win Now Attitude

By John Denton of – All through high school and college, Tobias Harris was playfully nicknamed “All Business’’ because of his serious-minded approach to the game of basketball. And even as a member of the Orlando Magic, teammates and coaches have referred to Harris as “an old 21 years old’’ because of his no-nonsense approach.

Now, with his Magic in the throes of an unsightly losing streak, Harris means business when he says that enough is enough and he and his teammates need to do everything in their power to get a win. If that means sacrificing personal goals for the good of the team, so be it, Harris said.

“All I want to do is win,’’ Harris said. “I’m tired of losing and it’s a bad losing streak for us, but whatever I can do help our team win _ that’s what I’m gonna do. And going into next game, that’s my approach. That’s going to be my goal to get all of the guys on this team to do whatever we can to get a win. That has to be our attitude.’’

Harris and the Magic (10-30) will hit the midpoint of their schedule Sunday night when they host the Boston Celtics (14-27). Orlando has lost 10 straight games, two of which have come in heartbreaking fashion in overtime periods. The Celtics aren’t in much better shape, having lost 10 of their last 11 games. That puts the Magic in a position where they feel like Sunday’s game is an almost must-win.

“I can’t really describe how bad we need to win,’’ Magic forward Glen “Big Baby’’ Davis said. “It’s crazy. But we’ve just got to stay positive. We have winnable games coming up and a team that we can beat, so we have to go out there and play as hard as we can.’’

Orlando just narrowly missed getting a win on Wednesday when it lost a three-overtime thriller to the Chicago Bulls. The Magic led by 15 points in the third quarter and by three points late in the first overtime, but couldn’t put away the Bulls.

On Friday, Orlando rebounded from a sluggish start and stormed to a five-point lead early in the third quarter. Facing a Charlotte Bobcats team that it had already beaten once, Orlando seemed poised to capture the win. But the Magic fell victim to a big Charlotte run in the third quarter and they never recovered in the fourth. Afterward, Harris admitted that the team had bad body language in the fourth quarter and seemed to cave under the frustration caused by Charlotte’s rally. On Saturday, Harris demanded that the Magic get tougher in those situations.

“The other team makes a run and we get discouraged, that’s in their favor. For us, it’s just about going right back at them. Take their punch and then deliver our own punch. That’s the way I look at it,’’ Harris said. “You see it all of the time where teams make runs and they settle down and get back on their feet. We have to get to that point.’’

Boston got all-star point guard Rajon Rondo back from a torn ACL on Friday night and he should see extended minutes against the Magic. He played 19 minutes in Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring eight points, handing out four assists and swiping two steals.

Magic rookie Victor Oladipo, who had a career-best 35 points on Wednesday and another 11 points on Friday, said Rondo is one of the players he has admired for years and he’s looking forward to facing the do-everything point guard.

“Even when people go under (screens), he has the ability to score. That’s one thing that I still have to work on, but he’s perfected it,’’ Oladipo raved. “He has the ability to get everybody involved and he’s still aggressive too. And I love the way that he plays defense and the way he leads his team. I’ve been watching him for a while, since he was at Kentucky, and it’s going to be pretty cool to play against him.’’

Harris said on Saturday that he still has hopes that this Magic team can get back on the winning track and make some noise in the Eastern Conference. He said if the Magic simply play through the down moments and fight off the confidence issues that they can end their losing streak and even possibly string together a winning streak. Most of all, Harris hopes it begins Sunday night against the Celtics.

“We have to keep competing and keep playing hard,’’ Harris said. “We can’t get discouraged just because we lost a few games – 10 games in a row. It’s about progressing and playing together has been a big thing for us. And defending together is also important. If we do those things, we’ll gradually progress through this halfway mark in the season and we’ll get a lot better as we go along.’’

Magic to pick up Contract Options for Nik Vučević, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless & Andrew

By Evan Dunlap at – The Orlando Magic will pick up the fourth-year contract options on Nikola Vučević and Tobias Harris as well as the third-year options on Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson, Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said Saturday morning. The team will officially pick up those options at the conclusion of Saturday’s practice.

The unsurprising move keeps those four core players under the Magic’s control through the 2014/2015 season. Per the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement as Larry Coon explains it, the Magic had until October 31st to exercise the options on these players.

Vučević and Harkless came to Orlando via the Philadelphia 76ers in the August 2012 trade involving Dwight Howard. In his first season with Orlando, Vučević developed into one of the NBA’s top rebounders, averaging 11.9 rebounds to go with 13.1 points and 1.9 assists in 77 appearances, all of them starts.

Harkless missed the training camp and preseason of his rookie year due to offseason surgery to address a sports hernia, but soon won a starting role. He made great strides at both ends of the floor as the season progressed and finished with per-game averages of 8.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.2 steals.

Harris joined the Magic via trade with the Milwaukee Bucks at the February deadline. Freed from spot-minute duty in Milwaukee, Harris emerged in Orlando, leading the team with 17.3 points per game and adding 8.5 boards, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 blocks.

Nicholson was Magic general manager Rob Hennigan’s first Draft selection, coming to Orlando with the 19th pick in 2012; the St. Bonaventure grad is also, improbably, the Magic’s third-longest-tenured player, not counting the exiled veteran Hedo Türkoğlu. His per-game averages of 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds don’t astound, but his array of low-post moves and soft touch around the rim do.

According to, the Magic’s 2014/15 outlay for these four players will be just over $8.5 million. For comparison, that figure is less than $1 million more than Arron Afflalo is owed that year.

Harris Explains Why The #12 is Soo Special To Him

By John Denton of – Former Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard created a bit of a stir on Tuesday when he expressed his disappointment with the Magic for giving the No. 12 away to another player just months after he had defected to the Los Angeles Lakers.

On Wednesday, Tobias Harris – the player who now wears No. 12 for the Magic – stressed that he wears the number for all the right reasons and that he never meant any disrespect to Howard’s legacy in Orlando.

Upon getting traded to Orlando last February, Harris requested No. 12 as a way to honor former teammate Morgan Childs, who died of leukemia when Harris was a high school sophomore in New York. It was the number that Childs once wore and Harris made a promise to his father, Torrel, the day he left the funeral that he would wear the number if he ever made it to the NBA.

Harris wore No. 12 throughout high school and in college at the University of Tennessee. He couldn’t do so with the Milwaukee Bucks because No. 12 was assigned to Luc Mbaha a Moute at the time. The trade to Orlando gave Harris another shot at snagging the sentimental number – and never did he know that it would create such a controversy because of the history tied to Howard.

“I wear the number for my best friend who passed away. That’s my story and there’s really nothing else to it,’’ Harris said. “I’m not about the number or the name on the back; I’m about the name on the front and that’s the Orlando Magic.

“I wore 12 in high school and college, and to me it was something to keep me at peace and let me know that my best friend is still with me to this day,’’ Harris continued. “It’s just the number that I wear and I don’t look too much into (the controversy). I focus on us as a basketball team and my teammates and nothing else.’’

Howard, the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by Orlando, wore No. 12 for eight seasons while playing for the Magic. He led Orlando to the 2009 NBA Finals and the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals. Additionally, he is the franchise’s all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots, but he had an ugly divorce from the team in August of 2012 when he demanded a trade elsewhere.

“I’m still a little upset about the No. 12. I just think despite whatever happened, there were a lot of things that I did and we did as a team,’’ Howard said on Tuesday. “That number is special down there. I was a little upset about that.’’

Harris, who is still just 21 years old, averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 points over the final 27 games of last season after joining the Magic. That’s something that Howard didn’t accomplish while playing for the Lakers, and numbers that only four others (Al Horford, LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee and Al Jefferson) reached last season. Harris is averaging 12 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in limited minutes this preseason.

Harris did not play Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets because of a minor ankle sprain. He said the injury was minor and he hopes to be back on the floor Friday night when the Magic host the Memphis Grizzlies.

“It’s just a little soreness and a precautionary thing (to sit out of Wednesday’s game),’’ he said. “I just need to get it back healthy and it’s nothing too crazy. I would hope it’s just a one-game thing.’’

Harris’ work ethic has become somewhat legendary around his friends and Magic teammates. He stayed in Orlando most of the summer to improve his strength and work on his skills. Following a lengthy practice with the Magic on Tuesday, Harris got in some extra work at a local gym in Houston with his personal trainer. Nicknamed “All Business,’’ Harris said he is simply focused on doing whatever possible to get himself ready for this season.

“It just shows my will power to continue to work as hard as I can,’’ Harris said. “I just want to be in the best shape that I can possibly be in so that I can play the whole season and have a healthy year.’’


Tobias Featured as a Special Guest on the Jim Rome Show

Check out Tobias as a special guest on The Jim Rome Show, aka “The Jungle” a sports radio talk show hosted by Jim Rome. It airs live for three hours each weekday from 9 a.m. to noon Pacific Standard Time. The show is produced in Los Angeles, syndicated by CBS Sports Radio, and can be heard on affiliate radio stations in the U.S. and Canada.

Info & Stats:  Orlando Magic Forward

All Topics: Wearing No. 12 for the Magic | Dwight Howard being upset that Harris is wearing No. 12 | Explains why he wears No. 12 | His friend passing away at a young age | Morgan Childs | His NBA career | Being a Charlotte Bobcat for about 15 minutes | Business side of the NBA | Being a leader at 21 | Trying to be the hardest worker in the gym | His tweet about a Kobe Bryant article | Bryant’s mindset and approach to the game

Oct 17th 2013

Tobias on Dwight Howard being upset Harris sports the #12 jersey in Orlando: “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion.”

>>> Listen to the Full Segment