Philadelphia 76ers forward and Islip native Tobias Harris is using his NBA success to give at-risk Long Island youths an alley-oop with a free business- and basketball-focused summer camp that he founded.
At Tobias Harris’ School of Business Basketball Camp, he personally shares pro tips with large groups of star-struck campers between the kids doing drills at the Yes We Can Community Center in New Cassel, a state-of-the-art facility with two NBA-sized basketball courts.
“Mentoring is one of the biggest assets you can offer the youth, and I knew a free basketball camp would give me the opportunity to teach these kids lifelong lessons,” Harris tells the Press. His mission is “to give the youth a positive option and outlet that not only stresses athletics, but also stresses academics and tools that can prepare them for the future.”
The camp hosts about 100 kids, usually the second week of August. What makes the camp different is that basketball isn’t the only thing on the agenda. The camp also offers different workshops and presents guest speakers such as police officers, teachers, and computer analysts that teach kids about careers they can pursue besides basketball.
Tobias’ father Torrel Harris, who was once an NBA agent, said that everyone isn’t going to make it to the NBA, so the kids need to be aware of other career options. The New Cassel area is home to a lot of disadvantaged kids who aren’t always able to afford to pay for typically expensive summer camps on Long Island. But at the Tobias School of Business Camp that’s not an issue, because the camp it is free for all the campers.
Tobias, the third oldest of six children, said that giving back to others was something that was always stressed in his household. Now that he is in a position to do so, he makes sure his camp is one that can be attended by all. Each camper receives a free book bag and pair of sneakers at the end of the camp.
Talk about a slam dunk!
To register for the Tobias Harris Business Basketball Camp, call the Yes We Can Center at 516-869-6311.