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Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #10, Masai Ujiri

Toronto's 50 Most Influential: #10, Masai Ujiri
Masai Ujiri Photograph courtesy of MLSE

Masai Ujiri

President, Toronto Raptors

10Last season, under Ujiri’s leadership, the Raptors posted their best record in franchise history and exorcised the demons of first-round exits by making it to the conference finals, where they lost to the eventual champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. In February, Ujiri presided over Canada’s first NBA All-Star Game, a smashing success that forced the rest of the league to realize what many already knew: Toronto is a basketball city. His greatest off-season achievement was convincing DeMar DeRozan to stick around, breaking a sad pattern of stars leaving town (see Carter, Vince; Bosh, Chris). For his efforts, he was given a hefty raise and re-signed for a long-term contract.

Charity circuit:

Ujiri’s annual Giants of Africa event honouring Nelson Mandela drew NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, fast man Donovan Bailey, footballer Didier Drogba and supermodel Winnie Harlow. A documentary about the basketball summer camp that Ujiri runs for under-privileged youth in Africa premiered at TIFF in September.

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