One of the main aspects of the game that Masai Ujiri has improved since joining the Toronto Raptors in 2015 in the globalization of the league.
Ujiri is not only the vice president and president of the only non-American team in the NBA, but he also grew up playing basketball in Africa.
Due to the abundance of talent and innate love for the sport in his native country, Ujiri decided to promote the game on the continent through the Giants of Africa initiative. It’s a way to promote the sport to young people through camps and community events.
The camps this summer were filled with unforgettable potential and unforgettable people. Join us for a final visit to Burkina Faso, Benin and DR Congo to understand why connecting with campers is such a big part of what we do. pic.twitter.com/Dbqq2EZhFF
— Giants of Africa (@GiantsOfAfrica) August 23, 2022
In 2021, Ujiri and his GOA staff are committed to building 100 courts across Africa. So far, they have been successful in creating new tracks in eight different countries including Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Tanzania, Congo and Ghana.
Due to his roots in Cameroon, the Raptors star Pascal Siakam underscored the importance for the NBA to expand its borders and globalize the game.
“To have someone like Masai (Ujiri) at the helm of all of this, which he’s done for the continent…it’s just amazing to see,” the 2020 NBA All-Star said last season. . ”It’s beyond basketball. I think he’s someone we can definitely learn from.
“To have someone like Masai at the helm of all of this, what he’s done for the continent… it’s just amazing to see. It’s beyond basketball.
Pascal Siakam on Masai Ujiri’s involvement with Giants of Africa. pic.twitter.com/trCfBgC2Y3
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 5, 2021
At the Raptors media day, Ujiri spoke to the press and talked about how important it is to everyone that the game continues to spread to different parts of the world. The director mentioned multiple examples such as the NBA league in Africa and the only latin american G-League team, the captains of Mexico.
“I think it’s necessary and I feel like the expansion is going to continue,” he said. ”It’s global and the NBA has that energy. We see it with the players, with the work, with the new team in Mexico City and the African Basketball League.
It is growing and we have to look everywhere and give everyone opportunities. I’m really happy about it.”
Masai Ujiri is the first and only President, Vice-President and General director from a professional sports franchise to North America.
During #NBAMediaDayI Asked Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri About The G-League’s Latin American First Team @CapitanesCDMX and what it means for the NBA to have a team in Mexico. @Nick_Lagios @M22Thompson @Ramon_DDSS @RSerratosV @francinabrea pic.twitter.com/ULE2rDVKKd
— Eduardo Villalpando (@eduardo_nbamx) September 26, 2022
International players have been at the top of the NBA ladder for quite some time. The last three most valuable players in the league were not Americans, while this year’s All-Star Game featured six international players, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokić, Joel Embid, Lucas Doncic, Rudy Gobert and Andrew Wiggins.
Since last season, rosters around the NBA featured a record 121 international players from 40 countries, showing the importance of basketball outside of the United States.