Top Best Import candidate Mike Harris continues to prove that he’s the cream of the crop of all guest players this 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup.
Yes, both on and off the court.
The Alaska import has shown his topnotch basketball skills and down-to-earth personality just in his first year playing here in the Philippines.
Last month, he was spotted treating street kids outside the Cuneta Astrodome to some snacks after an elimination round game in this season-ending conference. And just this Thursday – as the PBA went to the same venue for the Game Three of the best-of-five semi-final series against Meralco – the 35-year old Texas-native brought the kids to nearby Jollibee for some Chicken Joy meals.
The incident went viral on social media, but Harris played down the hype, saying that he doesn’t want spotlight at all with a simple gesture he made out of affection and care for the kids who were just like him before.
“It didn’t start like that. It got big on accident. There was no intention at all (to make it viral),” said Harris, who finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds in Alaska’s 99-92 Game Four win to arrange a Finals date with Magnolia.
“The intent was not that. I don’t post it because of intention of doing it. Me and my wife do similar back at home, but it’s not something that we post or we talk about because that’ s not the intent. It just so happened that people were there and they started recording and posting it,” he added.
“I don’t do it for that intention.”
Unknown to everybody though, Harris‘ commendable act meant something deeper for him.
For him, it is just his way of giving back – especially having experienced the kids’ struggle when he was just a nobody in Hillsboro, Texas before rising to what he is today.
“I came from a small family, I came from a small town. We didn’t had much so I have to work non-stop to get everything. My mommy taught me, my grandmother raised me. They though me hard work,” shared Harris.
“So I picked up, collected cans for a living. I mowed grass, I did whatever I could to earn money so they don’t have to give me anything. I know the real value of hard work.”
Harris said he simply relishes the chance to pay it forward, especially now that he has the capacity to do so.
“I just saw an opportunity to do something and it so happened that we just kept playing here. We kept on winning so it’s kinda bonus for helping out,” the Utah Jazz player added.
Harris also added that more than money, food is more valuable especially to these kids, whom he isn’t sure if there’s something to eat the next day.
“For me, I don’t believe in people giving money. I believe in giving them something that they can value,” the 35-year-old opined.
“I don’t know their schedule like or if they get to eat again the next day or whatever so that’s why I chose food because it’s more valuable.”
Harris may not be able to secure the Best Import award or the championship, depending on how the Finals play out, but one’s thing for sure: he has already won the Filipino people’s hearts.
And that weighs more than any trophy.
“It’s something that my heart really wants. It just so happened that when I got back to the car (I realized that), you can do more than that.”