Even though he might have been the key to last week’s J.J. Redick trade, when most people hear the name Tobias Harris, they’re like, “Who? David Cross in ‘Arrested Development?’” because that is the only Tobias anyone really knows and Harris still isn’t notable enough to show up on Wikipedia’s list of people with that name. Needless to say, even though he could end up as a solid role player in the NBA, Tobias Harris is a pretty minor entity.
But that’s all about to change, since he’s now wearing the most infamous number in Orlando Magic history. From the Orlando Sentinel:
Dwight Howard’s jersey number was destined to be retired by the Magic — until his tumultuous exit last summer.
Everyone knows the story.
The end of the story — at least a symbolic end of the Dwight chapter — came Saturday night in Orlando.
Another Magic player appeared on the court wearing Howard’s old No. 12: Tobias John Harris.
Harris played his first game since arriving from the Milwaukee Bucks in a multiplayer trade last week for J.J. Redick, scoring 14 points and blocking three shots against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I’ve heard a lot about that because it’s Dwight Howard’s number,” Harris said, managing a laugh.
Another person who had an impact on Tobias’ career and life was Morgan Childs.
He and Childs were best friends and AAU teammates in Long Island. But Childs died at 16 of a rare blood disease. So Tobias, to honor Childs, wore Childs’ No. 12 during his senior year in high school and in college.
But he had to wear No. 15 when he joined the Bucks, as No. 12 had been taken by forward Luc Mbah a Moute.
After being traded to the Magic, Tobias reclaimed a number that means so much to him, a number that once meant so much to Magic fans.
Well that is certainly one way to stop being a completely unknown player — by rocking the uniform number of a franchise cornerstone who just whined his way out of the city, Tobias Harris is basically ensuring he’ll see some No. 12s in the crowd, even if they are just people who don’t want to count that $60 they spent on a Dwight jersey a year ago as a sunk cost. It is kind of a roundabout way of seeing your own jersey, but it’s pretty smart. (He could also maybe consider handing out duct tape to fans so that they can DIY themselves a Tobias Harris jersey but that might be overstepping his bounds a bit.)
It’s not terribly shocking that this would happen though. The Jazz gave away Deron Williams’ No. 8 to Josh Howard the season after Williams was traded and Randy Foye is wearing it this year, Anthony Randolph is wearing Carmelo Anthony’s No. 15 in Denver and Quincy Acy is dropping scraggly beard hairs all over Chris Bosh’s No.4 for the Raptors. You could actually make a pretty terrible team of guys who have taken the numbers of big-name players after they left.
But it does feel pretty early in the game for the swap. It was less than a year ago that we all got to watch the most awkward press conference in history and there’s already a new No. 12 in Orlando. It’s just a little strange, especially when you consider guys have been told not to wear numbers because of the past they have associated with them. And it has to be weird, I’m guessing, for Orlando fans to see No. 12 again so soon. But nostalgia is for suckers and sharks die if they ever stop moving. I guess this is growing up.