76ers fans finally break Tobias Harris, spark heated debate again on booing
It feels like just last week the city of Philadelphia was embroiled in a debate about whether or not it’s okay for fans to boo. Well it was actually two weeks ago but regardless, in that time we have learned nothing. Neither have the athletes that are paid handsomely to play sports in this city.
Our latest example is Philadelphia 76ers max contract player Tobias Harris, who apparently has learned nothing at all during his time in Philadelphia.
Tobias Harris encourages 76ers fans to boo him, followed by telling them “don’t fucking clap” after making a shot
The Max Contract
Before everyone gets all pissed off about what side to take in fans booing. Let’s be clear about a few things. Yes, Tobias Harris received a max contract from the Philadelphia 76ers. Jimmy Butler left. Ben Simmons stayed. Harris was then bumped up to be the third piece of the puzzle.
That was perfectly fine. The 76ers had to pay Harris and he likely would have gotten that same type of contract from a handful of other teams. He was never paid to be a high-usage player like he has been forced to do this year. Obviously. He’s now on full display and his inability to adapt to his new role has been brutal to watch.
We all understand that. However, Tobias Harris has continuously come up short in playoff situations, and now, is coming up short in the regular season so of course fans are going to be mad. He should know better and be able to deal with the fans. There are countless examples of this not only on the 76ers, but on every other sports team in the city.
Joel Embiid dealt with it before and has figured out how to handle it. Bryce Harper has handled it as well. Ben Simmons, his own teammate, could not handle it and is literally not playing basketball anymore. Jalen Reagor is still struggling with it. There are a million examples of what to do and what not to do and it shouldn’t be such a hard concept for Tobias Harris to understand.
The fans of Philadelphia sports don’t care about charity
Tobias Harris has spoken at length about how the fans affect players and their on court performance. He defended Ben Simmons and pleaded with the fan base to show him support rather than criticize him. Harris has always cared about how fans treated players and it clearly bothers him. It’s also apparent that this is decidedly not the town to be that kind of guy.
On one hand Tobias Harris has been great. The charitable endeavors. The work with the community. It has all been fantastic and endeared him to the citizens of Philadelphia. The only problem is the citizens of Philadelphia and the fans of Philadelphia are two distinct entities.
They care about winning. They want you to be a stone cold killer that rips out the heart of your competition.
There are few short term Philly athletes as romanticized as Jimmy Butler. Why is that? Why was a guy that was here less than a full season and didn’t even win a championship still thought of so wistfully? Because Jimmy Butler wanted to win and wasn’t scared to take the shot when it counted.
While we’re talking Jimmy Butler, the Sports Illustrated cover always bothered me
I think back to that now infamous Sports Illustrated cover image from after Tobias arrived in Philly. When he was the final piece in our “super team” puzzle. Everybody looks dead serious on that cover. Everybody except Tobias Harris. There he is off to the far left, grinning like it’s high school picture day.
Tobias Harris was never supposed to be the guy. He’s the third or fourth wheel on a contending team.
So last night, on the court of the Wells Fargo Center, Tobias Harris finally cracked. The way his contract was scrutinized, the way his beloved NFT’s were made fun of, all of it added up to break his facade.
Gone was the pleasant and business-like Power Forward that never missed an opportunity to pass up an open three. In his place was a half mad shambolic basketball player.
Dan Burke and Joel Embiid respond postgame
Acting (future?) Head Coach Dan Burke was forced to address the outburst in their postgame press conferences. Ultimately just describing Tobias as “professional”, a ringing endorsement for the player.
(Not to get off track but can you imagine how poorly Doc Rivers would have handled this? He probably would have found a way to insult literally everyone.)
Embiid, as always a man of the people, addressed the controversy Tobias Harris had created. He was like a seven foot tall ninja with his words, knowing exactly what to say and even smirking at times when talking about Philadelphia sports fans. He had no trouble cleaning up the mess Tobias created by losing his cool.
Other than that, Harris had a pretty serviceable night with 14 points, 6 boards and 6 assists. And the Sixers did ultimately walk away with a win.
So I guess you gotta take the good with the bad?
The best thing that can happen with Tobias Harris, is the Philadelphia 76ers finally moving Ben Simmons for more viable options on the offensive side of the court or to ultimately try to move his contract and let him find a new home outside of Philadelphia.
mandatory credit: NBC Sports Philadelphia