Ujiri, Raptors Celebrate Mandela

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Mandela 100

The Red Carpet Rolled Out as the Raptors Celebrated Nelson Mandela

For Masai Ujiri, Tuesday night was special.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Giants of Africa president organized an incredible gala commemorating and celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela. One of the NBA’s most valuable ambassadors to Africa, Ujiri never shies away from showing his leadership and compassion off the court.

“Big night celebrating Nelson Mandela, 100 years of him,” Ujiri said at the BioSteel Centre on Tuesday. “We’ve always celebrated the day he passed here, Dec. 5, and this year we have a couple days and just wanted to show it, as you’ve seen all over the world, I think people are celebrating it and I wanted to bring a special couple days to remember him and, not only that, not to forget him and the impact he has had, on my life and many others and maybe even more youth as they continue to grow.”

Guests included former Toronto Raptors star Chris Bosh as well as Dikembe Mutombo, an African native and an NBA ambassador.

“It’s awesome,” Ujiri continued. “Especially in the game on Wednesday to have Pascal (Siakam), Serge (Ibaka), OG (Anunoby) – depending on the day he wakes up whether he’s British or American or Nigerian, depends on what sweatshirt he has on that day – (Joel) Embiid, and they are making impacts in the NBA, which is really cool to see,” Ujiri said when asked about the growing presence of Africans in the NBA. “I think their personalities are showing, and I do commend the work that they do. People don’t talk about it as much but they also do work around the continent and encourage youth to follow, like how they have come to. I think that goes a long way. It’s great to have good momentum like that.”

As the Toronto Raptors continue to rise to new heights thanks in large part to Ujiri’s work, the team’s president continues to use the sport of basketball as a tool to help his native continent.

With another incredible event in the books, Ujiri shows once again that he is simply a class act.

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