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November 13, 2008
by Robbie Gillies
About a month ago, a video made the rounds, showing the Nets' Devin Harris getting schooled by some English guy in a v-neck sweater and jeans. It was then reported that Harris had been told he was a kid from the Special Olympics. SLAM Online recently interviewed the man in question, Stuart Tanner, who doesn’t mention the Special Olympics part, but does shed some light on the story, the viral video, and how his life has changed since:
My brother came over to me, with Devin standing right next to us, and asked if he should take a photo. I told him, no, I wanna play him in a one-on-one. Devin heard it, and he looked me up and down—a six foot British white kid in jeans and a v-neck sweater—and thought, oh, this guy is no threat. And then he got a bit of a rude awakening two points later.
But Tanner isn’t delusional about his success against Harris.
If we played flat money or obviously if we played again he would play me seriously, I think offensively, I’m not saying I could score or do tricks on him, but I would have a much better chance on offense, but because I haven’t been working out and going to the gym and stuff like that, there is no way I could stay in front of him. He would just blow by me. We are talking about one of the quickest guys in the NBA, in the entire world, and if you match up with him on the perimeter one-on-one he is just going to burn you all day. I’m not stupid, if Devin Harris would play me serious he would absolutely kill me.
Tanner played on the top youth leagues in England but never played professionally because his free-wheeling style didn’t mesh with coaches that wanted to script out plays. Instead, Tanner got into coaching. His evaluation of Devin Harris seems spot on:
I haven’t seen him play with New Jersey really, but he seemed like someone with a bright future, very very quick, not a fantastic outside shooter but I thought he could potentially be a top-three point guard in the NBA in the next three or four years.
Harris is averaging nearly 19 points and 5 assists for the Nets, mainly because of that quickness. If Harris developed his outside shot he would become one of the top point guards but he hasn’t done that so far; he is 0 for 7 from 3-point range this season.
Tanner was surprised by the success of the video, but the subsequent fallout has yielded some nice perks: "Every single girl from my past seems to wanna be my friend again. I’ve been asked out on six or seven dates in the last few weeks."
The lesson? If you want to get back together with an ex, just school an NBA basketball player, put it on YouTube and wait for her to come crawling back.