This weekend, the Toronto Raptors will host their first NBA All-Star game. In the midst of the team’s preparations for the big event, their general manager, Masai Ujiri, spoke to Maclean’s senior correspondent Jonathon Gatehouse about his reputation for saying exactly what he thinks, the benefits of being the country’s only NBA team, and Canada’s rise as a bona fide basketball power. Here’s a sample from the interview, which can be found in full here.
Q: Would you like more teams in Canada? Or are you happy to have it all to yourself?
Happy to have it all to myself. Ourselves. [Laughs.] No, we play all over Canada in the pre-season and the support is crazy. The fans are knowledgeable and you can see their passion for the game. It’s unfortunate the team in Vancouver moved, because it would have been unbelievable to have a rivalry. But while it’s like this we’re going to take advantage of it. There’s one team, there’s one country. There’s no bigger platform than that.