From being an unpaid NBA scout to leading the Toronto Raptors to their historic NBA championship win in 17 years, Masai Ujiri (who is of Nigerian descent), has helped make history in far away North America.
The Win: As the president of the Toronto Raptors, Ujiri made some sharp deals which enabled his team to win. He assembled players who have exceptional skills and capable of making history to play in the first-ever NBA finals.
Ujiri last year signed Kawhi Leonard, a former NBA champion with San Antonio Spurs. Leonard went on to score the most postseason points in the NBA and picked up the Finals MVP award as Raptors defeated Golden State Warriors, the team that has won three of the last four championships and ranked as one of the greatest of all time.
A $10 million annual salary and potential equity: Ujiri’s success as an executive, coupled with his latest win, is expected to bring him some extra good fortune. This is because the Washington Wizards are reportedly set to offer him a package that includes a $10 million annual salary and potential equity in the company.
More room for greatness: According to reports, though winning the Toronto championship was Ujiri’s first, he has always been perceived as someone with a high-level boardroom prowess. As the executive vice president in charge of basketball operations at Denver Nuggets, he was named the NBA executive of the year in 2013 —the only non-American ever to receive the award. This is an award he will most likely win again this year.
African and winning: They are other Africans who also contributed to the Toronto Raptors‘ win. Ujiri’s commitment to discovering and promoting African talents led him to sign on two Africans —upstart Pascal Siakam from Cameroon and veteran Serge Ibaka from Congo —to the Raptors’ roster.
About Masai Ujiri: Born on 7 July 1970, Ujiri is a Nigerian-Kenyan professional basketball executive and former player who is the president of basketball operations and general manager of the Toronto Raptors in the National Basketball Association (NBA). After his playing career ended, he became a scout. He was named the NBA Executive of the Year in 2013 as the general manager of the Denver Nuggets.