LESSON LEARNT

Devin Harris says ‘the Stuart Tanner incident’ taught him a “valuable lesson”, and that its global popularity shocked him. His comments came as he visited London for the first time since the infamous one-on-one, to launch ticket sales for the two regular season NBA games at the O2 next March.

“I didn’t expect it to be as globally popular as it was, that was probably the most shocking thing,” the New Jersey Nets point guard said about the video of him losing to the Brit baller in October 2008, which has had more than 4.6 million views on YouTube.

“I usually can read people pretty well, but it was kinda unexpected to happen so fast, I didn’t really know what happened. But it did teach me a valuable lesson – don’t take anybody lightly.

“It was funny because I went to China that following summer and a lot of kids wanted to play me one-on-one…but it was going back through my mind and I was like ‘I’m dunking on these kids, pushing the kids down’! I’m glad it happened, it was a fun experience – I just didn’t expect it to be global the way it was.”

Looking ahead to the New Jersey Nets v Toronto Raptors games at the O2 on March 4th and 5th (tickets went on sale today, and are available at www.theo2.co.uk), Harris said: “David Stern has his vision of globalising the game, and I think this is just the start of that. We’re following the NFL – I think they have games over here every year – and I think this is just the start of a trend to play regular season games, get the country more used to NBA basketball and get them excited about it.”

These are turbulent times for Harris and the Nets though. Under the new ownership of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nets have just filed an application with the NBA to change the name of the franchise ahead of the 2012-13 season, when it will be moving to a new arena in Brooklyn (Harris didn’t have any inside information about what the new name might be!).

Meanwhile, his name is currently swirling in trade rumours involving the Nets and Carmelo Anthony. But he’s trying not to sweat it.

“Trades and things you really can’t control, I don’t worry about,” he told MVP.

“If they’re gonna happen, they’re gonna happen – you just gotta make the most of it. That’s what I’ve done with my move from Dallas to New Jersey. The rumours are just rumours right now, you never know what’s going to happen. You just have to prepare assuming you’re going to be there and see what happens”.

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