Raptors GM Masai Ujiri curses Brooklyn at fan rally before Game 1 against Nets
Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri screamed "F--- Brooklyn" while addressing a crowd of enthusiastic fans at the Maple Leaf Square outside the Air Canada Centre before the Nets' 94-87 victory over the Raptors in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series. (You can watch the video here, but warning for strong language, obviously.)
Joined on the stage by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president Tim Leiweke, Ujiri made the comment after telling the crowd he was headed to the game. His New York City dis was met with loud cheers and screams from the assembled fans.
Ujiri was hired by the Raptors last summer after winning the 2013 Executive of the Year award while working for the Nuggets. He previously served as a front-office executive for Toronto before his Denver tenure.
"I love Brooklyn," Ujiri told the Toronto Star during the first half. "But it's playoffs. Just trying to get our fans going."
The Toronto Sun reported that Ujiri apologized at halftime, referring to the comment as a "wrong choice of words."
"Nothing against the Brooklyn guys," he said. "You know how I feel, I don't like them, but I apologize."
The comment was the subject of post-game talk from both sides.
USA Today Sports reported coach Dwane Casey's reaction: "That’s Masai. That’s why our team plays like that. He’s a fiery guy. That should represent how we feel."
Nets coach Jason Kidd tried to play off Ujiri's comment.
"I don't even know who their GM is," Kidd said, according to Raptors.com.
Thousands of Raptors fans had gathered at the outdoor rally to celebrate the franchise's first postseason appearance since 2008.
Ujiri's Tupac-esque comment comes one day after the Toronto Sun referred to the Nets' veteran-dominated roster as "dinosaurs" and noted that "[Kevin] Garnett and [Paul] Pierce are so old [Toronto's mascot] the Raptor had to ask his dad about them."