The people who lead in their community aren’t always the ones you expect. In fact, the ones who make a difference are often in front of your eyes. Tobias Harris is one of those people. And for the NBA Cares Community Award, he is one of 10 basketball players who are making a difference in their community and possibly the world – but we’ll accept committing to their community as something to strive for.
Originally from NY, Tobias Harris has been around the league for a minute with such teams as Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, L.A. Clippers, Charlotte Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks before landing with the Philadelphia 76ers. His on-court stats are phenomenal but he’s equally well-rounded with his off-season, off-the-court activity that’s taking center stage with this nomination for “global community efforts in education, health, social justice and more.” And due to his off-court activities, he’s been able to contribute to a worthy charity called “Team Up Philly & National Educational.
Known for his passion for mentorship, this season Tobias hosted more than 40 girls from Team Up Philly for a “Game Changers: Women in Sports, Tech & Literacy” panel discussion to empower girls living in underserved Philadelphia neighborhoods to lead healthy, confident and successful lives. Tobias also partnered with the National Education Association to challenge girls to celebrate Read Across America’s annual reading motivation program. Tobias spearheaded the construction of a school in Haiti and gifted the students with new shoes and soccer equipment. In December, Tobias hosted 30 young men from Tobias’ Troops Mentoring Program for a movie screening and holiday event.
The National Basketball Association awards the Community Assist Award for community engagement, philanthropic activity, and charity work. It is a monthly award, but season and offseason awards have also been given. In some cases multiple awards have been given in the same month. The award is sponsored by Kia Motors and Kaiser Permanente is part of the NBA Cares program. In the 2012–13 NBA season the season long award was accompanied by a $25,000 donation from Kia and the NBA to a charity of the recipient’s choice.
Now fans can also get in on the action by voting for Tobias until Sunday, May 5th by 11:59 p.m. EST. You can vote for their chosen season-long award nominee via Jebbit, where they can view and select videos highlighting each player’s impact, or on Twitter, by using #NBACommunityAssist and a player’s handle or #PlayerFirstNameLastName (e.g., #DavidRobinson). Retweets are also counted and votes cast on the first and last day (April 24 and May 5) will count twice towards a player’s total. This year, Harris is in good and strong company, going up against the following players:
- Jarrett Allen (Brooklyn Nets)
- Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
- Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
- LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
- Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks)
- Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)
So, vote for Harris or your favorite player listed, vote now and vote often. May the best player win for the charity of their choice.
– Joseph Walker, III