PHILADELPHIA, PA -- As a youngster, Philadelphia 76ers starting forward Tobias Harris used to dream about playing in the NBA on Christmas day. Getting to the league is tough enough, but the 27-year-old former first-round pick has already checked that accomplishment off of his list.
Nowadays, Harris is onto bigger things. Just this past offseason, he reached an agreement with the 76ers to attain a maximum contract from the organization, checking off another accomplishment. And on Wednesday, another dream has come true for him.
Once the Sixers wrapped up their win against the Detroit Pistons this past Monday night, Harris quickly moved on to December 25th. That's when the Sixers were scheduled to host the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas day.
For a majority of the Sixers roster, it was just another game being played on Christmas. For Tobias Harris, though, it was his first rodeo on the holiday. Although he's been in the league for years, playing for a handful of teams, Harris joked about how he wasn't on any teams that were good enough to get the Christmas day spotlight.
With the Sixers, however, the potential All-Star had the opportunity to make the most of his first time playing on Christmas day. After finishing with 22 points in a dominant win over the NBA's best team, Harris undoubtedly fulfilled a childhood dream.
"It definitely lived up to the hype," Harris said following the win over the Bucks. "As a kid growing up and watching games on Christmas, being glued to the TV -- to really go out and play was just an amazing feeling. It was truly a blessing to have this opportunity, and it's never something I would take for granted."
Harris wasn't the only Sixers starter playing in his first Christmas day matchup on Wednesday. Although he was on the Miami Heat's roster for a Christmas day game back in his rookie season, Sixers' shooting guard Josh Richardson didn't get to play.
This time around, though, Richardson starred in the big matchup and delivered with a solid performance by contributing to 18 points against the Bucks. As a player who tends to feed off of high-energy from the flow of the game, Richardson was feeling the electricity from the sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday afternoon.
"It was awesome," Richardson said after the game. "The energy was great. It's great every night [in Philly]. But today, it was like every play is like a playoff atmosphere. I had a great time playing."
Obviously, it was tough for anybody on the Sixers roster to be unhappy with knocking down the top team in the NBA with a final score of 121-109 on prime time. But since it was the first matchup on Christmas for players like Harris and Richardson, it made the win ten times more special on Wednesday afternoon.