On the court, things have arguably never been better for the Toronto Raptors. Reigning NBA champions, possessing a deep roster, and embarking on a franchise-record winning streak have all been recent highlights. Off the court, though, the good feeling has been clouded by Masai Ujiri's lawsuit. Now, Ujiri has revealed he feels the controversial incident robbed him of the chance to properly celebrate the greatest moment in Raptor's history.
In case you'd somehow missed it, the Raps president faces legal action over his alleged assault of a security guard, Alan Strickland, after their NBA championship win at Oakland's Oracle Arena last year.
The altercation allegedly took place as Ujiri was trying to make his way onto the court. A video of two having to be separated was later posted online.
Speaking at a Youth Olympics promo event in Dakar, Senegal, Ujiri called the lawsuit against him "malicious," as reported by the Canadian Press via Sportsnet.
The team exec went on to say he feels something "incredible" was taken away from him the night of the championship win, a feeling he will "never forget."
Because of this, he insists his drive to see the team repeat this year is even greater.
"It is one of the things that drives me to win another championship because I want to be able to celebrate a championship the right way," he said.
According to Courthouse News Service, Strickland claims he has been left with "injuries to his nervous system that will result in permanent disability." His complaint states he suffered not just physical injuries but also "mental, emotional, and psychological" suffering.
Strickland is also suing the Raptors' parent company, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, for failing to ensure his safety.
Ujiri says 'malicious' lawsuit pushes him to win another championship https://t.co/Z3lq60JajP https://t.co/rBRWZEUH1H— CP24 (@CP24)1581548356.0
Strickland and his wife, Kelly Strickland, are seeking US$75,000 in general damages, as well as other compensation including punitive damages, lost wages, current and future medical expenses, and legal costs.
However, Ujiri said he is confident the allegations against him will be proven false in court.
"This thing will be settled. The truth will come out. The truth will come out of this," he told CP.
Despite the team's amazing performance on the court this year, Ujiri has had his share of the headlines as well.
Late last year, rumours begin to swirl that the lowly New York Knicks have their eyes (again) on landing Ujiri to lead the rebuilding of one of the NBA's most storied franchises.
However, Ujiri immediately seemed to put a pin in that talk by professing his love for the Raptors and all things Toronto.
It is unclear exactly when the lawsuit will be heard in court, but from Ujiiri's comments, it appears he is focused on the Raptors repeating this June and putting it all behind him.