Both coaches in the Mavericks-Clippers series weighed in about news of a body-camera video that showed Masai Ujiri being shoved by a security member when the Toronto Raptors president was attempting to get to the court to celebrate the team’s 2019 championship.
The incident happened at Golden State’s Oracle Arena after the Raptors had won Game 6 and closed out the NBA finals against the Warriors.
LA coach Doc Rivers, said he had seen the video before it was released to the public.
“Masai and I are very close and he had shared the video with me,” Rivers said before Game 3 Friday. “It was sad to see and actually very hurtful to watch that video.
“A man is at the pinnacle of his career at that moment, walking out on the floor to celebrate with his team that they’d just won the NBA championship and he has to be reminded once again what his color was. It’s just so sad.”
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle begins each of his media sessions with a historical anniversary of an act of racial injustice. He’s been at the front of the NBA coaches’ push to increase awareness when it comes to social equality since the murder of George Floyd in May.
He had a hard time believing what happened to Ujiri.
“What a terrible situation,” Carlisle said. “All the guy wants to do is get with his team and celebrate a championship. It’s a visible, modern-day example of racial injustice. And it’s appalling.”
There has been an outpouring of support around the NBA for Ujiri, who is universally thought of as one of the most honorable and likable team officials in the league.
Rivers said that there is more to the video that has been made public and that it will further show that Ujiri was targeted because of his skin color.
“If you see the whole video, which I don’t think a lot of people have seen yet, the guy (in uniform) was nice, nice, nice and then here comes this one black man with a suit (on),” Rivers said. “It’s just really sad. Winning a title is so emotional. I don’t think people who aren’t in it can ever understand it. And to have that taken away, it’s just really sad.”