Words of wisdom: Some of the top quotes from Raptors president Masai Ujiri

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri touched on numerous on- and off-court topics during a nearly hour-long session with reporters on Tuesday.

Here’s a look at some of the notable quotes from Ujiri in the aftermath of the Raptors’ run to their first NBA title:

On reports of other teams having interest in Ujiri:

“For me, the blessing is being wanted here and finding a place that makes you happy and finding challenges that really make you grow as a person. This place has made me grow as a person. I identify with this place and I love it. In my mind, I’m here.”


On another idea he had for the news conference after noticing the Larry O’Brien Trophy was missing:

“I was just going to come out and put it down and walk off … and walk back to Africa.”


On fellow African Pascal Siakam of the Raptors winning the NBA’s most improved player award:

“We represent an unbelievable continent in Africa and it says a lot for the youth we represent. When we go back this summer, you can actually look at this youth and say this is where we are, this is the opportunity we’re getting and by the way, we are champions. You can actually do it and you can go and win.”


On if Canadians are bothering pending free agent Kawhi Leonard too much when he goes out in public:

“Yesterday I found myself putting on a hoodie in an airport. There’s sometimes you want your private space and that’s understandable with everybody in life. I know he does understand. he doesn’t complain. I do think people should respect a person’s space and the person he is. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal like we make it (out to be).”


On if basketball can be bigger than hockey in Toronto:

“That’s a touchy subject here. Where’s my handkerchief on that one,” Ujiri said with a smile, wiping his face. “Shanny’s (Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan) my boy. So is (Leafs GM) Kyle (Dubas). But I really do think so. That’s the way basketball is growing around the world. We saw the following. I do think we’re lucky in a place like Canada. There’s room for baseball, room for basketball, room for hockey, room for soccer.”


On if the Leafs will ever win another championship:

“I remember here six years ago, five years ago, we were talking about can any team here ever win a championship again. The soccer team does, the basketball team has and I guarantee you the hockey team will. That’s just how sports is. Sports comes around. Everybody thinks it’s doomsday and it’s not going to happen. It all comes around. It came around for the Raptors and it’s going to stay around.”


On the global makeup of the Raptors and their fanbase:

“That’s something we’re really proud of. It identifies with what Toronto is, diversity. That’s what 44 (44th U.S. President Barack Obama) said to me when he came to games. ‘Wow look at the people, look at the different types of people.’ It’s unique.”


On the team’s future:

“I truly believe we will win some more. I have no doubt in my mind.”

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