president, Masai Ujiri, has been accused of pushing and striking a police
officer during the NBA finals on Thursday.
Nigerian born Mr Ujiri
was trying to make his way to the court at Oracle Arena moments after the
Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to give Canada its first-ever NBA
Sheriff’s Office said an officer denied Ujiri access to the court because he
didn’t have proper credentials.
Video of the aftermath
of the alleged incident shows a man pleading and stopping officers from getting
to Ujiri, who eventually gets onto the court for the championship ceremony
after Raptors player, Kyle Lowry, pulls him from the crowd.
According to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Ujiri was trying to get into the court but did not have the proper credentials. The officer asked for the credentials and told Ujiri he couldn’t get on the court without them, at which point Ujiri pushed the policemen striking him in the face, the sheriff’s office said.
In a statement issued
Friday, the Raptors said: “The incident is being looked at, and we are
cooperating with authorities. We look forward to resolving the situation.”
Born in England, Ujiri grew up in Nigeria and eventually
travelled to the United States to play high school and collegiate basketball.
After six years of playing professionally in Europe, Ujiri
was hired by former Denver Nuggets star-turned executive, Kiki Vandeweghe, as
an international scout. He then moved on to a brief stint as the assistant
general manager of the Raptors before returning to Denver as general manager,
eventually winning NBA Executive of the Year in 2013.
Ujiri then signed became the Raptors general manager in 2013 and was quickly promoted to president.