As the community consultant for the New York Yankees, I try to reach kids of all ages and sports.
When asked to attend a career day at the Tobias Harris Basketball Camp, I was more than flattered because both Tobias and the kids wanted to hear my story. I found Tobias to be a true gentleman and New Yorker who has not forgotten where he came from. This is my interview with Tobias Harris and a special thanks to Chucka Erike, the camp counselor that helped set this up.
Ray Negron: Tobias Harris, a young man from New York City, born and raised. You are now with the Detroit Pistons. I just came over to your program over here. I see you are giving back. I am proud to say congratulations with what you are doing.
Tobias Harris: Thank you. It means a lot. Here right now, we are in the second week of camp. It’s free counseling for the kids. We had really good high school talent last week. Now we have some really good talented, different kids from five to 12. It’s been really good to be at camp, being around the kids and getting to know them.
RN: Throughout the years, I got to work Derek Jeter, Darryl Strawberry, and Reggie Jackson. A lot of times it seems like a concept of business. I see a concept of family here. Am I wrong?
TH: You are not wrong. It’s a whole family concept. That’s why it makes it real special. Everybody is in the family here. We don’t really do anything as a business concept or stuff like that. We just focus on the kids and understand them. Give them some inspiration. And show them different types of careers and different types of avenues you can go in life. It’s a lifestyle camp and that’s how we go with it.
RN: When you address the kids, you knew them by their first names. How did you do that and why is that important?
TH: I’m here every single day. I have my workout in the morning, right before camp, and I am to watch them throughout the day and the biggest thing is this allows them to realize interaction and spending time with them and get to know them.
RN: Last question, you are in Detroit. What are you looking for with Detroit and you?
TH: Another great year. We have a lot of great pieces coming back and it is going to be a great year for us. Everybody is working super hard this off-season. The sky is the limit for us.
RN: I am looking forward to covering you. When you come in during the season to play the Knicks, act like you know me so I can impress my friends.
TH: (Laughs) I sure will. I appreciate it.
Ray Negron is a sports executive with over 40 years of experience in baseball. His first job came from a chance encounter with George Steinbrenner as a youth. He has become an American film producer, a best-selling author, and a philanthropist. His memoir is entitled, “Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers.” He also writes for NEWSMAX. He is also the host of Impact on 930 AM WPAT every Wednesday from 6 to 7 pm.