Ujiri Goes From Nigerian Boyhood to Become NBA Raptors Boss

By Daily Sports on June 1, 2019

Views: 827

Masai Ujiri, who only discovered basketball as a teen growing up in Nigeria, made the crucial decisions that lifted the Toronto Raptors from NBA disappointment to title contender.

The 48-year-old Raptors president made a deal last July for San Antonio star forward Kawhi Leonard, sending away long-time Toronto standout DeMar DeRozan, and fired NBA Coach of the Year Dwane Casey after a second consecutive playoff ouster by Cleveland, hiring Nick Nurse to replace him.

“Caught a lot of us off guard,” said Raptors’ Cameroonian forward Pascal Siakam. “It was definitely something that was a tough pill to swallow.

“He’s willing to do anything he thinks is the best thing to put us in position to win. He’s going to do everything in his power to make us win.”

So far, Ujiri looks like a genius as the Raptors are facing defending champion Golden State in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, which open Thursday in Toronto.

“It’s surreal but when you put the team together, we all dream of a championship,” Ujiri said. “The change was hard at the time but we knew the kind of player we were getting and if we overcame and we dealt with all the issues that we felt that could come together.

“We were all positive about this kind of moment and all dreamed about it. Our job is to try and create that team, the atmosphere for them, the workplace for them to prepare and they have done an incredible job.”

Leonard has 31.2 points a game in the playoffs and has sparked the Raptors, his four-bounce buzzer beater in game seven to oust Philadelphia a clutch hoop like no other in NBA history. (The Guardian)

•Photo shows Masai Ujiri 

Source Daily Sports

Posted June 1, 2019


 

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