- When Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic were traded to the Clippers last season, their friendship only strengthened. It's grown into one of the NBA's most entertaining partnerships.
Tobias Harris fondly remembers the first time he met Boban Marjanovic. During the 2016 offseason, Marjanovic signed with the Pistons, to whom Harris had been traded during the previous season. The subsequent encounter, as he describes, was rather forthright.
“Boban comes up to me and tells me he doesn’t really like me,” Harris says during a phone interview, “because he thinks that when he played against me I was a cocky player or whatever. So I was like, ‘Dang. He don’t like me.’”
On the other end of the line, Marjanovic bursts into laughter. He says he didn’t really mean it.
“I hope that he forgives me one day,” he adds, still chuckling.
Harris and Marjanovic have come a long way since their initial meeting. Ironically, the two recently reminisced about that very exchange roughly a week before. It was an unconventional foundation for their friendship, but somewhat befitting. On its surface, their pairing seems unusual; Harris is a 6’9”, 235-pound African-American forward from New York, while Marjanovic is a towering 7’3”, 290-pound Serbian center. But any concern over their amicability is immediately erased once they begin chatting.
The natural rapport is more than apparent during their YouTube show, “Bobi and Tobi.” And even over a muffled joint telephone call, their chemistry is clear.
“It’s unique, you know?” Harris says. “Most people see us and they think it’s an odd friendship. But those are the people that don’t really know Boban as a person. They may not know myself as a person. When you look at the similarities of our personalities, it’s two caring people who put others first, who want to bring light to different people. I think that’s why we really have a good friendship, because we care for others, sometimes more than we care for ourselves.”
Thus, when Harris, 26, and Marjanovic, 30, decided to launch their YouTube show, the premise wasn’t only to have a good time. “We want people to feel more happy and put a smile on their face the way that we do right now,” Marjanovic says.
“I think we do a great job so far and hopefully we continue to do that,” Marjanovic says.
Other teammates don’t give the duo much grief for their hijinks. Harris attests that most of the Clippers roster is pretty close and such a bond isn’t necessarily atypical to NBA locker rooms. In fact, when Harris and Marjanovic played in Detroit, they developed a good relationship with teammates Jon Leuer, Ish Smith and fellow Clipper Avery Bradley. A trade sending Harris, Marjanovic and Bradley to Los Angeles last season, however, only strengthened Harris and Marjanovic’s bond.
“We went from being really good friends to being even better friends and being around each other even more,” Harris says. “Especially in a new environment.”
In each other, Harris and Marjanovic see a bit of themselves—good-natured, selfless men who enjoy a good laugh. Marjanovic says he fully trusts Harris and sees him as someone he can be genuine with. Most importantly, he says, Harris is a “really good man.” Likewise, Harris deems the Serbian big man as someone whom he can be honest with, which over the course of a daunting 82-game NBA schedule filled with highs and lows, is especially vital.
“That’s what teammates are for,” Harris says. “It’s for sure huge in importance to have someone on the team you can have that type of relationship [with].”
Harris and Marjanovic’s captivating friendship has also caught the eye of some outside the NBA. The two partnered with Subway to promote the sandwich vendor’s Golden Token Instant Win Game, which gives Subway members a chance to win trips to major sporting events such as 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend and the 2019 Rose Bowl.
The Subway deal came naturally, especially when considering what Harris and Marjanovic wanted to accomplish through it. “Two things in mind for both of us,” Harris says. “We thought it was an awesome thing to partner with and get involved with and then we were gonna get together to this, so we’re extremely excited for it.”
The sweepstakes falls right in line with what “Bobi and Tobi” has represented: a chance for Harris and Marjanovic to bring joy to the face of others, not only as basketball players or as entertainers, but as people.
“We just like to help people,” Marjanovic says. “That’s how we show ourselves.”