Father of NBA star Tobias Harris discusses his son's trade and what it is like for a basketball player to leave his former city
(NEW YORK) — One of the biggest trades ahead of the NBA’s trade deadline was the deal that sent star forward Blake Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers east to the Detroit Pistons.
Once the trade was completed, Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson were shipped to Detroit in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, and a first-round and a second-round draft pick.
For Harris, a small forward who is in the midst of one of the best professional basketball seasons, being traded to a new city is nothing new. Since being drafted in 2011, Harris has been traded by four different franchises.
Less than 24 hours after that trade, Harris’ father and agent, Torrel, spoke with ABC News about the deal involving his son, and provided insight into what it is like for a professional athlete like Tobias to leave one community and enter another.
He called the trade “kind of tough,” saying his son was getting comfortable in Detroit, having played there since he the Orlando Magic traded him in February of 2016.
“My son is a human being,” Torrel says, pointing to the feelings of abandonment and loss Tobias and the young student-athletes he spent time mentoring in the Detroit community had to cope with upon hearing the news he was dealt to Los Angeles. “Every month, he works with all these kids. Now, he has to leave those kids after he gets to know those kids and gets attached to them.”
According to his father, Tobias spends his time off the basketball court volunteering and maintaining a vegan lifestyle. Also a fashion-conscious professional, Torrel says Tobias and his family license clothing for the NBA and will preview of our their own leisure-wear line NBA All Star weekend http://www.nba.com/allstar
The emotion of leaving one community for another is challenging, but the trade itself also presents its own set of emotional challenges. Torrel explains that in the immediate aftermath, a player begins to question what their value was to the team that traded them.
He says, “When you give your all on the court, and when you give your all off the court, then you’re traded, it’s still, even though that team wanted you, you’re still like, ‘Wow, why did you trade me?'”
However, with trades being nothing new for Tobias, Torrel tells his son to stay confident. Having seen him move from one city to another seamlessly, Torrel believes Tobias will thrive with his new team:
“Every time they [a team] has traded him, whether it’s Milwaukee or Orlando… he has excelled at a higher level… He’s going to do terrific with the Clippers. And I’m pretty proud of how he’s carried himself during his NBA career.”
On Friday night, Harris returned to Detroit as his former Pistons hosted the Los Angeles Clippers. Los Angeles won 108-95 behind Harris’ 12 points and eight rebounds, snapping Detroit’s five-game winning streak.
Afterwards, he told reporters, “Any type of situation that I’m in, I embrace it fully on the basketball court and off the basketball court and a lot goes into that so when I did get traded, it was hard for me to take at first, but I understood what was going on.”
He added that being traded “is just part of the game,” saying, “I wish the Pistons nothing but the best.”
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