Masai Ujiri

Masai Ujiri

President and Vice-Chairman, Toronto Raptors | Founder, Giants of Africa

Masai Ujiri is in his seventh season as President of the Toronto Raptors, leading the team to the most successful period in franchise history, including a NBA Championship. In June 2019, the Raptors won the first NBA title in the franchise’s 24-year history with a six-game victory over Golden State. In his six years leading the team, the club has won five Atlantic Division titles, made its first appearance in the Eastern Conference finals, set a team record for victories in a season with 59, and complied a 321-171 (.652) regular season mark.

Ujiri returned to Toronto as President and General Manager from Denver, where he spent three years as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Denver Nuggets, and became the first African-born general manager of an NBA team and was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2013.

Ujiri was named 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year after he led the Nuggets to a team-record 57 wins and a league-best 38-3 home court mark. Ujiri helped construct a young, athletic roster that captured the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference despite being the third-youngest team at the start of the season. In Denver, Ujiri is best known for a 12-player deal Feb. 22, 2011 that sent All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. That trade is heralded as a textbook example on how to receive high value in exchange for a pending free agent.

A native of Nigeria, Ujiri brings tremendous knowledge and extensive global connections to the Raptors front office. He played professionally in Europe for six years, with stops in Belgium, Germany, England, Greece, and Finland. He has scouted all over the world, including Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. Ujiri has also managed and coached the Nigerian junior and senior national teams.

On a personal level, Ujiri has been tireless in his efforts to promote and develop the game of basketball throughout Africa. He is the founder of the Giants of Africa Foundation, which urges young people to “Dream Big,” and uses basketball to educate and enrich the lives of youth, and create opportunities for them on and off the court. Since 2002, Ujiri has also served as the director of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program.


Leadership

Masai Ujiri is one of the most influential leaders in the NBA, leading the Toronto Raptors to their most successful period in franchise history, including an NBA Championship – the first in their 24-year history, and the only team outside the United States to do so. At the same time, his Giants of Africa Foundation has lead talented African Players to compete at the highest levels in basketball. Now, Ujiri speaks about how he applies his leadership skills to win on and off the court, lift up those around him, and develop the next generation of leaders.

Philanthropy

Masai Ujiri has dedicated much of his life to empowering youth in Africa. He founded Giants of Africa in 2003 with the mission of using basketball as a tool to enrich the lives of African youth globally, and create opportunities for them to realize their potential. Over the past 17 years the organization has traversed more than 17 African countries and territories conducting camps, building courts, and facilitating youth outreach. Ujiri also served as director of the NBA’s Basketball without Borders program. He speaks throughout the globe on his philanthropic values, and desire to better the lives of others.

Social Justice

Masai Ujiri is an active voice in the social justice movement, and has always been a strong advocate for equality. His very public experience with racism during the 2019 NBA Championships sparked national and international headlines, and lead to the Humanity movement – a platform to continue the conversation on social justice and what it means to be a human being. Ujiri now speaks passionately about the fight for equality, and how we can work together build a future without discrimination.

Building Strong Business Cultures

Masai Ujiri has a proven ability to build strong business cultures. As President of the Toronto Raptors and Founder of the Giants of Africa Foundation, he is known for fostering greatness within organizations, and isn’t afraid to take risks. In his talks, Ujiri uses his own story and journey to highlight how to build strong and sustainable business cultures, and brings attention to the importance of equity and inclusion.

Women's Empowerment

Women’s empowerment is very close to Masai Ujiri’s heart. He believes that when women win, we all win. Ujiri uses his many personal experiences, such as growing the Toronto Raptors staff from one woman in 2013 to 15 strong female leaders to date, and impacting hundreds of young females through Giants of Africa women’s camps, to teach how to provide equal opportunity and champion women.