Masai Ujiri: “Playing (in Tampa) Set Us Back A Couple of Years”

The Toronto Raptors newly-minted “Vice Chairman” Masai Ujiri addressed the media in Toronto for the first time since re-signing with the organization, and admitted that the just-concluded season that the team was forced to play away from home in Tampa “set us back a couple of years.” And he fully expects that the Raptors will be playing the 2021-22 season at Scotiabank Arena in the 'Six'. 

"Man, it's time to come home."

As for his renewed commitment to stay with the team, he called Toronto a “certain place” that provides him a platform to address a number of issues—locally and globally— that are important to him.

"In some ways, there's unfinished business.... We are building for the future to put ourselves in position to win another championship."

And about that next championship... It seems there's still some unfinished business there to attend to for Ujiri. In a thinly veiled reference to the situation after Game 6 of the 2019 Finals, in which an Oakland security guard got physical with him and tried to stop Ujiri from entering the court to celebrate with his team after they won the title, he had this say:

"I want to celebrate properly one day when we win a championship. And I'm not taking a shot, I just want to celebrate well." (in all honesty, he actually was taking a shot, but it's a well-deserved one, no question). 

Ujiri opened his media conference by paying tribute to Kyle Lowry, thanking him for all his time in Toronto, and calling him unequivocally the greatest Raptor of all-time. 

Regarding all the rumors surrounding Pascal Siakam, Ujiri said "Pascal is a prideful man. Pascal is here, he's a Raptor and he's gonna play with us." 

Finally, when he was asked how long he will stay in Toronto, he gave a one-word answer that Raptors fans will be glad to hear: "Forever."

Photo Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports