76ers

Tobias Harris opens up about mental health and what he does to stay balanced

Tobias Harris opens up about mental health and what he does to stay balanced

The first time Tobias Harris practiced yoga at a studio in Long Island, New York, he almost fainted. Granted, it was Bikram yoga, a practice in which the room is usually heated to a temperature of 95-108 degrees with a humidity of 40 percent.

“It was recommended to me through a lot of people because of flexibility and things that would further help me,” Harris recalled. “But then, when I got in there and realized how hot it was and then the heat combined with the movements, I almost passed out.”

Thankfully, Harris made it through his first class without losing consciousness, and the practice has stuck with him ever since.

“When I first started yoga, I was looking to do it more for the workout aspect of it, and now I kind of do it more for the meditation experience and just the soothing and calming experience, mixed with being able to put your muscles and stretch in different positions," Harris said. "It puts me in a spot where I can use my breath and hone in and focus on my own personal inner being.”

For Harris, yoga is one of the many aspects that contribute to his overall well-being — a balance of “mind, body, soul and making sure that's all on a healthy level.” Something he is very passionate about.

So passionate, in fact, that Harris helped lead a small yoga class at Y7 Studios in New York on Sunday, as part of the inaugural Tobias Harris Healthy Lifestyle Conference, a two-day event focused on health and wellness.

“Everything from meditation to working out, to being financially on top of your business, things that for my own self-awareness, I embody in my own walk of life and my profession,” Harris said about the conference.

“Physical health and mental health go hand in hand. Every day I wake up and go work out, and it's not because I have to do it, it's because it's good for my own well-being as a person to be able to get up and move every day.”

Harris also appreciates how the attitude toward mental health, especially in men’s professional sports, is shifting.

“It's a more open dialogue type of feel," Harris said. "I think more males are feeling more comfortable to say it's OK to go and talk to somebody.”

For Harris, talking to a therapist has been a personal shift for him, too.

“My girlfriend is the first person who told me to go talk to somebody and see how it goes, and my response back was like, ‘I don't need to go talk to anybody,’" Harris said. "But until you actually try it and do it, then the stigma around it goes away … and you go, ‘Actually, that was really helpful for me.’ I think I appreciate how open of a field it is now, and I think it’s important for a lot of people.” 

Especially in the age of social media.

“I think [social media] has a bigger impact [on mental health] than people may realize," Harris said. "Sometimes feeding into the negativity or the positivity also can affect your mental state, where you may get too high or too low in different settings.”

And add to that, injuries, playing time and other moments of adversity that affect a player’s mental health.

“I think every NBA player has been there, maybe every pro athlete has been there,” Harris said.

"That's why I know from my own personal self, always keep a base of who you are and things you can keep on a daily basis to help your own self and to help you be the best you, every single day.”

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Sixers vs. Cavs: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers vs. Cavs: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Before they have a chance to get one back on the defending champion Raptors Sunday night, the Sixers have a game to play Saturday at Wells Fargo Center.

Here are the essentials for the matchup between the 15-7 Sixers and 5-16 Cavs.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 7 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center 
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch:

It’s not rest this time

Joel Embiid has yet to have a “rest” game since saying load management is “BS.”

He’s out Saturday with a left hip contusion. A team source told NBC Sports Philadelphia that Embiid reported discomfort after the Sixers’ 119-113 loss Thursday to the Wizards and is being treated for the injury.

Embiid had played in 11 straight games since sitting the last game of a back-to-back on Nov. 13 in Orlando. 

After tonight, he’ll have played in 18 of the Sixers’ first 23 games, and 30.4 minutes per night. He played every one of the team’s first 23 games last year, averaging 34.6 minutes. 

Missing the ‘dot connector’ 

Before the season, Brett Brown called Josh Richardson the “mortar” for the Sixers. On Nov. 20, he labeled him a “dot connector.” 

The Sixers have managed a 5-1 mark in games Richardson has missed — he’s out again Saturday with right hamstring tightness — but they’ve been much worse with him off the floor. The team has a plus-10.6 net rating with Richardson on the court, minus-0.6 with him off it.

Much of that can be attributed to him being paired with Embiid, who has similar on-off numbers and tends to boost the net ratings of whomever he’s playing with, but that disparity does suggest Richardson’s value. 

At a minimum, splitting up the Richardson-Embiid pairing has hurt the Sixers. 

Drama with the Cavs 

Three anonymous players were quoted in a story in The Athletic by Shams Charania and Joe Vardon about new Cavs head coach John Beilein. The players voiced their frustration with, among other things, the former Michigan coach’s emphasis on fundamentals and extended film sessions. And, according to the report, “all the team’s screens, cuts, and pivots are named after wild animals. A curl is a 'polar bear' in John Beilein's system.” That reportedly hasn’t resonated with a few of the Cavs’ veteran players.

Several players then responded to the report and spoke out in support of Beilein, including Tristan Thompson. 

“Y’all better find them names ‘cause I’ll pull up on ‘em right now,” Thompson told reporters. “You can’t do that s---. At the end of the day if you’re going to build a culture and a family, you can’t have that Chatty Patty s--- going on. That s--- is whack to me.”

That wasn’t the only notable news involving the Cavs on Friday. The team is prepared to listen to offers for Kevin Love, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. The five-time All-Star missed Cleveland's 93-87 loss Friday to the Magic because of an illness. 

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Sixers Injury Update: Joel Embiid, Josh Richardson out for Saturday's game vs. Cavs

Sixers Injury Update: Joel Embiid, Josh Richardson out for Saturday's game vs. Cavs

The Sixers will be down two starters Saturday night when they return to Wells Fargo Center to play the Cavs.

Josh Richardson will miss his fifth consecutive game with right hamstring tightness, while Joel Embiid is out with a left hip contusion.

A team source told NBC Sports Philadelphia that Embiid reported discomfort after the Sixers' 119-113 loss to the Wizards on Thursday night and is being treated for the injury.

Embiid had 26 points, 21 rebounds and eight turnovers Thursday.

Richardson and the Sixers have been cautious with his hamstring. He told reporters in Washington, D.C., that this is the first hamstring injury he's dealt with and admitted that it's been a frustrating process.

“A hamstring is one of those things where you can think that you’re fine and then you take a wrong step and it’s a week or two-week setback," he said. "I don’t really want to get into that whole cycle. ... It’s just one of those things where I just don’t really know where I’m at most of the time. It always feels like I’m tiptoeing, trying not to do too much.”

The Sixers' preferred starting five of Embiid, Richardson, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Al Horford have played just 102 minutes together this season, posting a plus-21.3 net rating. 

Furkan Korkmaz has started the past four games in place of Richardson. Without Embiid, the Sixers will need to plug in another spot starter and perhaps search for further big man depth. Kyle O'Quinn hasn't played since Nov. 23, but he might be called upon vs. Cleveland.

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