There’s plenty of reasons to love Masai Ujiri. Success basically follows him wherever he goes. From being able to pull together a perrenial Playoff team in the loaded Western Conference during his stint in Denver, to completely turning around the Toronto Raptors from being a lottery team to Atlantic Division Champions in less than 12 months… The man oozes success & likeability.
Well, today, Ujiri had his WWE Face moment when addressing a packed Maple Leaf square prior to the Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets Game 1 tip-off at the Air Canada Center.
After telling the crowd he’s got to leave the stage & head to the game… He dropped this (f)bomb:
The only thing that could have made this moment better, would have been if Ujiri just dropped the mic & walked off the stage, rather than handing it across to Tim Leiweke. Overall, I give Ujiri a 8.5 for this. The execution of the mic-drop would have taken this up to a 10. If the Raptors picked up a victory, then this moment would have sat right behind Pat Riley guaranteeing back-to-back Lakers Championships in ‘happy-with-it’ NBA podium moments.
This isn’t the first bit of pre-series taunting that Raptors Nation has put on the Brooklyn Nets. Yesterday, the Toronto Sun, so ‘happy with it’ that the Raptors were back in the Playoffs, ran what could only be described as the greatest front-page of a tabloid paper since English Paper News of the World published this.
During half-time, Ujiri apologised for the comments:
But it seems like this wasn’t going to be the end of it… As collaborated by Ben Golliver at SI.com’s Point Forward, the comment was the talk of the locker-rooms after the game, which the Nets won 94-87:
“We have his back,” Amir Johnson said, according to the New York Post. “I’m with him 100 percent so if he said ‘f ‘em,’ I say ‘f ‘em.’”
USA Today Sports reported coach Dwane Casey’s reaction: “That’s Masai. That’s why our team plays like that. He’s a fiery guy. That should represent how we feel.”
Nets coach Jason Kidd tried to play off Ujiri’s comment.
“I don’t even know who their GM is,” Kidd said, according to Raptors.com.
Ujiri & the city of Toronto may have won the pre-series battle. But, so far the Brooklyn Nets are 1-0 up in the war. Something tells me, this battle of words isn’t quite over just yet.
via: Sports Illustrated