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Tobias Harris 'blessing families and shedding a light on good things' at North Philly school

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Tobias Harris 'blessing families and shedding a light on good things' at North Philly school

On Monday morning at 9:30, after playing five games in seven nights, and driving back late Sunday night after a rough loss in Brooklyn, Tobias Harris arrived timely and smiling at Bethune Elementary School in North Philadelphia.

His first stop was Room 101, where he was there to show his personal appreciation for 15 male educators.

“As you all know there is a huge shortage of black male teachers around the country, so first and foremost I want to applaud all of you guys for being able to be here and giving back to the kids, especially when most of them look up to you as father figures, and someone as influence in their life,” Harris said standing in the small room, and personally thanking each teacher.

“The numbers don't lie that show that a young black male that has an African American teacher is 40 percent less likely to drop out come high school,” Harris said after gifting each teacher a $100 gift card for school supplies, as well as tickets to a game. “I truly believe if you invest in the education, in the schools, you invest in the community, we'll see more young leaders come up and children come up with an education base and be able to fulfill their dreams in whatever they want to do.”

It’s a cause close to Harris’ heart, as he recently donated $100,000 to the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, which will supports early literacy efforts and teacher retention and recruitment. 

“I just wanted to be here to let them know that they are appreciated,” Harris said, who also launched his Top Teachers Initiative in October. “A teacher is somebody that in my eyes is a role model, is a hero for a lot of these kids.”

Harris then made his way to the school’s small library, where he had 15 kindergarteners waiting for him.

A quote from Tobias Harris was also hanging on the wall.

“Education is the anchor that opens up the door to success.”

Donning the red and white top hat from Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, Harris sat back in a rocking chair, and introduced himself to the kids.

“My name is Tobias Harris. Are you ready? Today I am going to be reading Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes!”

In between reading the children’s book about a cat whose white shoes get mucked up by various substances — like blueberries and strawberries and singing songs about Pete’s shoes changing colors (“I love my red shoes,” “I love my blue shoes!”). Harris easily captivated each kid’s attention.

The smiles in the room were big enough to make your cheeks hurt.

After that, Harris visited with a group of older students where they laughed and talked about what they wanted for Christmas, before Harris surprised them all with tickets to Philadelphia's Christmas Day game.

Following that, Harris made his way to the principal’s office, taking over for Principal Aliya Catanch-Bradley.

A nervous and excited Principal Harris spoke over the loud speaker to all the students and teachers at school, surprising every teacher with gift cards to purchase more school supplies for their classrooms.

This could be getting me ready for life after basketball,” Harris, who aspires to pursue a career in education after basketball, said. “It's a cool feeling, being here in this type of environment, being in an area that’s impacting kids is something I definitely want to do when I'm done.

Although that was all that was officially on the docket for the morning, Harris’ day didn’t end there. A teacher had popped in earlier to introduce himself and ask Harris if he would stop by his classroom.

So, Harris then popped into Room 212, sat in a seat and started doing math problems with the kids, and answering the teacher’s questions.

And then, he popped into another class, where they were discussing the history of African-American heritage. The class also gifted him the book they were reading, “Schomburg: The Man Who Built A Library.”

“What I want (Harris’ visit) to translate into, is that our children matter, and that they just don't matter to those of us inside the building, but they matter to a broader community,” Principal Aliyah said, after explaining that Bethune is a Trauma Informed elementary school.

We are in the 25th police precinct, and here we have a significant number of homicides for the city, concentrated in this area, so many of my scholars come to school with gun violence, loss of siblings and family members that have a high incarceration rate here, and we are also in an area where there is deep poverty. … Usually when you see this area on the news, it's a homicide or something bad, so today, we get to have one of the 76ers come, and really bring with him such great joy, that's not associated with tragedy and travesty happening. It's like, I took time out of my day to see and spend some time with this school, because you matter.

Bethune Elementary, focused on removing barriers for these young kids, has also been chosen as one of the schools for Tobias’ Lit Labs Initiative, which provides literacy resources for students and teachers.

“Today we removed a barrier for some of what might have been hopelessness for the holidays,” Principal Aliyah said. “Tobias is blessing families and shedding a light on good things that are happening in this part of the city.”

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Ever wonder why Allen Iverson is called 'The Answer'?

Ever wonder why Allen Iverson is called 'The Answer'?

Some might have called him “Bubba Chuck.” Others simply “A.I.”

But the nickname that stands out above all others when talking about Allen Iverson is “The Answer.”

Ever wonder how Iverson got the nickname? The origins are still a bit unclear.

We all know Iverson for his signature cornrows and tattoos, but when Iverson arrived in Philadelphia, he had one tattoo: A bulldog with “The Answer” written above it. Iverson’s original sneaker with Reebok was called “The Question.” Each subsequent sneaker was called “The Answer.”

In 2003, Iverson was actually sued over the use of the nickname by Jamil Blackmon, a family friend from Virginia. Blackmon claimed that he gave Iverson the nickname in 1994 and the two had reached an agreement on Blackmon’s pay out for any money the nickname netted Iverson.

Putting together the pieces, the answer may be as simple as Iverson being “The Answer” to the Sixers’ and NBA’s problems.

For more on Iverson’s nickname and why play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff never called him it, check out the video above.

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2020 NBA mock draft: Trading up for Kira Lewis Jr. in this Sixers-only mock draft

2020 NBA mock draft: Trading up for Kira Lewis Jr. in this Sixers-only mock draft

It looks like we’ll be waiting a while for the NBA draft, which was originally scheduled for June 25. The New York Times' Marc Stein reported that some teams now expect the draft to be held in September. For the time being, we’ll continue to consider possibilities for the Sixers, who would have picks No. 22, 34, 36, 49 and 59.

In this Sixers-only mock draft, the team moves up in the first round to take a point guard and selects a combo guard early in the second. 

16. TRADE — Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama 

We have the Sixers trading No. 22 and 34 to the Timberwolves for No. 16. With Lewis, it feels obligatory to list his sophomore averages: 18.5 points, 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals. Those per game stats are slightly inflated because he played 37.6 minutes a night, but they’re impressive nonetheless.

The Sixers might think about Lewis as a trade-up option primarily because of his ability as a shot creator. While he sometimes played a loose style at Alabama, turning it over 3.5 times per contest last season, he has a natural talent for sizing up a defender and blowing past him. He is extremely fast, which makes him a threat in the open court and also means he doesn’t need to gain a tremendous edge on his man with a dribble move to beat him — a sliver of space is often enough. 

When he gets into the paint, however, Lewis isn’t the most reliable finisher. At 6-foot-3, 165 pounds, his size makes life more difficult for him around the rim. His weight is likely a larger concern defensively, although Lewis is capable of working over ball screens — something he’d be asked to do often in the Sixers’ scheme — and his speed is an asset when he’s trailing the play or jolting into a passing lane.

Lewis’ shooting numbers are positive, too — 36.6 percent from three-point range and 80.2 percent from the foul line — though he has a low release point he might have to tweak for the NBA. He just turned 19 years old in April and will need to add muscle, but with Lewis’ college production, it’s not as if the Sixers would be banking purely on potential.

36. (via New York) — Jared Butler, G, Baylor 

Butler’s game matches the Sixers’ needs well. He’s an advanced ball handler, full of behind-the-back, between-the-legs and spin moves, and confident in the pick-and-roll. While he’d be undersized for an NBA shooting guard at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Butler is dangerous both on and off the ball. He hit 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts this season on 6.7 attempts per game. 

In the NBA, it’ll be interesting to see if Butler is able to guard multiple positions effectively. He has a sturdy build, is a good lateral mover and had 2.2 steals per 40 minutes for a Baylor team that finished 26-4, all of which is encouraging. 

TRADE — No. 49 for Memphis’ 2021-second round pick and cash considerations 

The Sixers have been very willing to sell second-round picks in recent years, and with the team projected to be in the luxury tax, it would not be remotely shocking if they did it again. In this deal, they’re at least getting back a future pick in addition to the cash. 

59. (via Lakers) — Killian Tillie, C, Gonzaga 

Tillie endured a slew of injuries at Gonzaga, which is one reason he might be available this late in the draft. The 6-foot-10 Frenchman has a lot of skill for his size and shot 44.4 percent from three-point range in college. He has real stretch four/stretch five potential in the NBA, especially with his ability as a passer. 

For the Sixers, his diverse skill set would have to be intriguing here. They don’t have any young backup big men on the roster, and Tillie has the tools to be a productive rotation player — if he stays healthy. That caveat would be worth accepting with the 59th pick. 

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