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Masai Ujiri: ‘It’s fine being the first; I have a problem with being the only one’ | The Blog 101

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And in 2019 he led the Canadian basketball group to turn into the primary outdoors of the US to win an NBA championship. But throughout the on-court celebration, Ujiri had an altercation with a sheriff’s deputy that he believes occurred as a result of he’s Black.

Ujiri, who signed a contract extension with the Raptors in August to make him each vice-chairman and president, says the incident has motivated him to lean in additional to his humanitarian work — significantly by means of his Giants of Africa group.

By the nonprofit, he hopes to attract extra Africans to the game, internet hosting basketball camps for greater than 5,000 girls and boys in 16 African nations since 2003 — and he’s at present on a mission to construct 100 basketball courts across the continent.

CNN’s Arit Okpo spoke to Ujiri in Kenya whereas he was unveiling among the first courts this previous September.

The next interview has been condensed and edited for readability.

Arit Okpo: You are the primary Black, non-American group president in North American sports activities. What does that imply to you?

Masai Ujiri: I wrestle with it a bit bit as a result of you could have the satisfaction in you to say you might be main the best way and that is the place it ends. As a result of if there will not be different people who comply with after me, which means I did not do an excellent job. I am the one one, and I really hate it. I would like there to be extra Blacks. I would like there to be extra Africans.

It’s totally prideful for me to carry younger African coaches, younger African ladies to come back and converse to those youngsters as a result of they see that if me and you are able to do it, they’ll do it too. So yeah, I do not wish to be the one one. I hate that. It is positive, being the primary — I’ve an issue with being the one one.

Okpo: So are there methods that you’re taking this and possibly altering the best way sure issues are accomplished?

Ujiri: Sure, loads of methods. To begin with, we have now to offer extra Black individuals alternative in our personal establishments and organizations. We’ve to proceed to determine a method to be decision-makers, be in these boardrooms. It isn’t solely rent an intern or rent a variety and inclusion officer — we have now to be in positions the place selections are being made in one of the simplest ways. For me personally, there are a few tasks that we’re engaged on that I can’t converse an excessive amount of about now that I’m 100% enthusiastic about.

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Okpo: Your duties with the Toronto Raptors have expanded to vice-chairman. Along with president, what does that imply by way of the work that you’ll be doing?

Ujiri: We’re the one (NBA) group that is outdoors america in order that brings a singular alternative. And a few individuals do not actually perceive it. Once I spoke to possession, I believed, you understand what? We have to see it greater. We must be the group of the world. I’ve to assist extra individuals. I’ve to make use of my platform to be a voice.

It will be a failure if there will not be extra (individuals like) me on this place. So my voice needed to be greater, and put us in environments the place we might be even greater determination makers. And people are the issues that I wish to do.

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