10 “Behind The Scenes” Points from Masai Ujiri’s Interview with George Strombolopolous

A fantastic comment from RR reader, Alexey Ots, tells us what was and wasn’t aired from the Masai Ujiri interview with George Strombolopolous.

A fantastic comment from RR reader, Alexey Ots, tells us what was and wasn’t aired from the Masai Ujiri interview with George Strombolopolous (brief video here): 

1) He retold the Lowry story about sitting down with him at the beginning of the season and challenging him to change the stigma of his reputation.

2) He said had a chat with Terrence Ross on Sunday March 23rd, about his sleeping habits, that he needs to get more rest.

3) He retold a story about meeting Nelson Mandela in Africa with Dikembe Mutombo, DeSagna Diop, and a couple of other younger players. Dikembe yelled at the younger players for not dressing better (they were in sweats) and told them to go back up into their hotel rooms and dress proper to meet Mr. Mandela.

4) George asked Ujiri about Phil Jackson’s impact coming to the Knicks and he said “He said he didn’t care, and that it wasn’t a factor to him” Then he just plainly stated and I quote “I HATE THE KNICKS!” – M. Ujiiri

5) I was in the crowd yelling “Raptors” loudly a couple of times during the applause and at one point, I yelled “RESIGN LOWRY” and GM Ujiri was looking straight at me. He had a deer in headlights type look, but then kinda smiled.

6) Talked to George afterward and asked him about asking him about resigning Lowry, He said he couldn’t ask that and that he wanted to ask him and also about Amir’s knee instead, but didn’t also.

7) Masai repeatedly made it known throughout the interview, that Toronto is his home that he loves it here and that he is fully committed to making the Raptors a top team over time. That he really doesn’t leave town in the summer, and his phone is always on for work purposes 24/7.

8) He credited BC for bringing him into the Raptors and making the draft picks of DD, Big V, and getting Amir. He says that the Raptors fans should give Colangelo more credit.

9) He thinks its crap that people perceive Toronto as a place players don’t wanna play at. He says look at the top teams in the east, Miami is nice sure, but he personally hates the city, and how anyone thinks its warmer or better in Indiana or Chicago is beyond him. Toronto is the best in his opinion.

10) When he walked out by me, I bowed to him and personally thanked him for fixing the Raptors. Just a very awesome person, who I am glad is the GM of my favorite sports team.

More updates from comments:

Oh yeah and ONE more HUGE one! Masai asked permission from Mark Cuban to speak with Vince Carter while the Mavs were in Toronto to play the Raptors earlier this season (and Cuban said yes), and it was inferred that Carter does want to rejoin the Raptors next season and finish his career here. Ujiri said he hopes that Raptor fans could forgive him and that his legacy with the team is a very important one.

Alexey Ots • 5 hours ago

5 extra ones real quick I just remembered:

1) George kept pressing him about the horrible job the referees have been doing, he said every time if George gave him the fine money he would open up about it.

2) Masai was asked about drafting some of the Canadian players from the tournament and he said he would definitely look at them, but once again if George paid the fine for him he would open up.

3) George asked him how close we were really to changing the Raptors name, and Ujiri said that was a question for Tim Leiweke who will be on George’s show in the next week or so.

4) Masai’s favorite movie as a kid growing up was Jordan’s “Come Fly with Me”.

5) He also enjoyed the “Fish that saved Pittsburgh” and the Kevin Bacon one “The Air Up There”. That these films got him interested in basketball originally.

The taping was on the 24th of March. If I remember any more I promise to post it.

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