Tobias Harris had a bounce-back performance Wednesday in Orlando. After a brutal seven-game stretch, Harris recorded 22 points (9 of 19, 3 of 6 from three), nine rebounds, four assists, and a pair of steals and blocks.
But what he did after the game was also important.
Harris addressed the unpleasantness that occurred Monday night with Sixers fans. In a win over the Rockets, Harris implored the crowd to get louder when they booed and later could be seen mouthing “don’t f—ing clap” when the fans offered him a “Bronx cheer.”
A contrite Harris had this to say (via the NBA Content Network):
“It was obviously frustration. I understand that our fanbase boos at times. They also cheer for us louder than anybody. I don’t want nobody to get it twisted; I love our fanbase. I love the excitement coming into Wells Fargo (Center). I know they are our sixth man and help us. I also know with praise, you also have to be willing to take criticism as well. At that point I was completely frustrated. It was just one of those things. But something I learned from it is to keep the cool all the way around and keep being who I am. I’ve had an up-and-down year for myself thus far, but I don’t think anybody in that arena is harder on me than I am on myself. I understand that and I want to play the greatest basketball that I can play, and that’s just me as a competitor, (as) a person, whatever it is. I work my ass off daily to get to that point, and I’m always empowering myself to think positive and push on. And I will get to the point where I’m playing the type of basketball that I’m comfortable with. Tonight was a good step in that direction, and that’s what it’s about. Everyone goes through rough patches in their careers. But for me I look at it like, when I get up out of this, this is going to be a good story to tell people of resilience, and just fighting through and finding your rhythm and balance all the way around.”
Harris added this terrific nugget when asked a follow-up on the subject:
“Well, I can say this: Nobody died, I just got booed. Right?”
We can question Harris’ fit here and talk about how much money he makes, but he is one of the classier athletes that has come through this city. He is a true professional on and off the court.
And his response Wednesday seemed genuine. He is a guy that puts a lot of pressure on himself and he does work hard. Good for him for conceding that he allowed his emotions to get the best of him, something he’s rarely let happen as a Sixer.
Let’s hope his performance against the Magic was a sign that he’s broken out of his recent funk, and that everyone can put Monday’s events behind them.