Philadelphia 76ers veteran Tobias Harris has faced a lot of scrutiny over the last couple of years due to his performances on the court. Although he's had some ups and downs performance-wise, there is one factor about Harris that can never be judged in a negative way. That's the veteran forward's leadership.
In past seasons, Harris has been responsible for putting together off-court team activities and forming group chats, so players on the roster stay connected and build chemistry. Now, new Sixers players are revealing that Harris was the first to reach out to them on the night they got drafted.
“I think the guy that reached out was Tobias,” said Sixers second-round pick Charles Bassey. “I think, when I got drafted, he texted me like 'congratulations' and 'I can’t wait to just start working.' This is a championship team for sure. A team that’s trying to get to the championship, get a title, and that’s the goal, for sure next season.”
The first time Bassey spoke to Harris was on Thursday night, shortly after the former Western Kentucky big man heard his name called as the 53rd pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. As for Philly's first-rounder, Jaden Springer, he's no stranger to getting messages from Harris.
“When I got to Tennessee, he just hit me up on Instagram and stuff like that,” said the Sixers' 28th overall pick. “[He was] just really just checking to make sure I’m straight.” Springer, a former five-star college recruit, played his first season at Harris' alma mater Tennessee this past year. Being that Harris remains in tune with what's going on at his former school, he seems to keep in contact with some of the school's stars as they'll eventually land in the league, where Harris has been for years now.
When the Sixers veteran reached out to Springer on Thursday, though, it was for celebratory reasons. “He reached out to me after I got drafted,” Springer explained. “Just congratulated me and told me he couldn’t wait to get us together and just lock in. He hit me up a couple of times during the season, just like motivating me, telling me you got it, bro. Just keep working and stuff like that.”
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.