The text messages or phone calls to Orlando Magic power forward Tobias Harris come weekly from the legend.
He often receives them after games from the 60-year-old man in Texas. Generations apart, they have little in common but basketball.
“He’s cool,” Harris said. “Probably the coolest guy I know.”
Of course he’s cool.
Harris knows him as “Ice.”
He’s George “Ice Man” Gervin — family friend, willing mentor, master of the finger roll and hall of famer.
Harris, 20, has been working on his game with Gervin since he was about 13, through high school, college and NBA levels.
“The advice Ice gives me is really on point, on key,” Harris said. “The main thing he tells me is to have fun. You have fun, the game comes more naturally to you.”
Their connection was inevitable. Harris’ father, Torrel, a former player at Duquesne, struck up a friendship with Gervin decades ago. He eventually became his agent, representing Ice Man late in his post-NBA career overseas.
“I’ve known the family a long time,” Gervin said by phone from San Antonio, where he played 12 years for the Spurs of the ABA/NBA. “Tobias can play, man. He understands the game. He loves the game. I’m proud of him.”
Tobias has stayed at Gervin’s home in San Antonio while training at the George Gervin Fitness and Wellness Center in San Antonio. He worked out with him last summer — going through drills and toiling at Gervin’s rebounding machine — and expects to return this offseason.