10 - 11 of the Bay St. Bull Power 50: Toronto Sports
The Power 50 is a collection of Canada’s top people, places and things of 2016. Our list is filled with game changers from all corners of the nation that are inspiring, innovating and influencing the way we live and work from the top. Giving you the best from every city, industry, office and home, The Bull’s Canadian Power 50 is not your typical list and instead is the definitive guide to who and what is changing the way Canada lives, works and plays.
10. Massai Ujiri: General Manager, Toronto Raptors
When you hear about talented people leaving Canada for higher profile, better paying jobs down south, no one is surprised. What is surprising, however, is when someone who’s left and been rewarded (and even received accolades for their work) decides to come back.
That is exactly what Masai Ujiri did, and Canada’s only NBA team couldn’t be better off as a result.
Sure, Denver isn’t LA or New York, but when Ujiri led the Nuggets after being the number two guy in Toronto, he could’ve had any job in the league that he wanted.
What he wanted was to come home to Toronto. Taking over a team in the basement in 2013, Ujiri has been everything the Raptors have needed and more to right the ship. He’s cleared out big salaries and bad attitudes (see: Rudy Gay, Andrea Bargnani) while ensuring the core of the team (see: DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas) has stayed in tact, supported and happy.
More importantly though, Ujiri walks the talk. He’s won every Raptors fan’s respect, but the cherry on top was an expletive-laden quip directed at Brooklyn when it counted. On top of it all, Ujiri also gives back tirelessly to the city that he’s made his home and the heritage from which he comes from. As a director of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, he spends most of his summer in Africa laying the groundwork for community programs and basketball clinics in a place that truly needs it. Also impressive is that he’s founded his own charitable organization, Giants of Africa, to take his support of his homeland by further enriching the lives of those in need through the sport he loves.
Not bad for a guy who had to leave in order to come back.