Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri has apologised for a foul-mouthed, fan-baiting speech at a rally prior to his team’s NBA playoff opener against the Brooklyn Nets.
Ujiri, a Nigerian who was the first African-born general manager in the NBA and earned GM of the Year honors while with Denver, said he was trying to whip up the crowd outside the Air Canada Centre prior to Saturday’s Eastern Conference clash when he concluded his remarks by shouting “F… Brooklyn!”
The crowd responded with an ovation, and Ujiri’s remarks quickly found their way onto social media sites, but by halftime of Brooklyn’s 94-87 victory he was offering his apology.
“It was the wrong choice of words out there,” Ujiri later said.
“This thing is really not about me, it’s about the players and the playoffs.
“So just trying to get the crowd out there rattled. It was the wrong choice of words.”
Though he said he regretted dropping the F-bomb, Ujiri made no bones about his dislike for Toronto’s Atlantic Division rivals.
“You know how I feel,” he said about the Nets. “I don’t like them, but I apologise.”