Tobias Harris has been a leading voice on the 76ers for social justice. On Monday, by speaking for less than 30 seconds, the 76ers forward spoke volumes concerning the death of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.
Asked during the first question of Monday’s zoom conference if the players planned to wear the social justice shirts that NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook has helped design, Harris was calm, but forceful in his response.
“You know nothing against the T-shirts, but you want to make sure that [Kentucky attorney general] Daniel Cameron will arrest the cops and officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death,” Harris said. “And, yeah, that’s all I got to say. That is going to be my answer for every question. For Daniel Cameron to step up and do what is right and that is the only message I got today. I appreciate everybody.”
And with that, he got up and left to begin practice.
Keep in mind that Harris is among the more cooperative players in the NBA with the media, whether talking before or after games. On this day, he only wanted to make his point loud and clear at the NBA’s bubble at the Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
Cameron’s office is heading an investigation into the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot by police conducting a no-knock warrant at her home on March 13. The warrant was part of a narcotics investigation in connection with a suspect who didn’t live there. No drugs were found.
One officer, Brett Hankison has been fired, and according to the New York Times, the other officers (Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove) involved in the case have been placed on administrative leave. The Times reports that none of the officers face criminal charges.
Cameron is now heading up the investigation. Last week, he said there is no timeline for when his office will conclude its investigation.
Harris, 28, has been a leader with the Sixers since acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 6, 2019. His role grew during the pandemic when Harris was credited with keeping the team together by setting up zoom calls and continuing the line of communication among teammates.
He has also been out front on social issues. Harris, along with rookie Matisse Thybulle and general manager Elton Brand joined the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Philadelphia following the death of George Floyd.Thybulle said that Harris inspired him to join the Philadelphia protests.
Sixers forward Glenn Robinson III said on Monday that Harris will be leading them in another soon-to-be team-wide social justice statement.
“So we are kind of leaning on Tobias right now,” Robinson said. “We are going to come together as a team and kind of figure out where to go forward and what we are going to do for the city of Philadelphia to come together with everything that is going on right now.”
The Sixers have had team-wide discussions on how best to use their platform, with Harris leading the way.
“We want to decide as a team why are we here, what are we playing for besides a championship,” Robinson said. “We are also playing for our community and the things that are happening in the world. I think it will be pretty impactful, a pretty big statement, hopefully it will be coming from Tobias soon.”
In addition to speaking out on social issues, Harris is known for his community service. Last year, he was among 10 finalists for the NBA Community Assist award.