Larry Tanenbaum Rumors
Following the announcement, Raptors governor and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum spoke with The Athletic about Ujiri’s role as vice-chairman of the organization. “I chair the Raptors, but it’s just a recognition that we’re really working together. We’re partners,” Tanenbaum said. “We’re (not just) partners in building the team, but partners in the other areas where he knows he speaks with authority.”
Tanenbaum confirmed that though Ujiri’s title is vice-chairman, he will not be a part of the ownership group in spite of rumors the Wizards were angling to offer that as a bonus to joining Washington. But the title carries significant weight for Ujiri, not just as one of the league’s most renowned basketball executives, but as someone who has taken on an increasingly prominent role in global basketball and philanthropic development. “It’s a title recognition that allows him to have maybe just a touch more (authority) when he goes out, (such) as in Africa, to know that we’re standing shoulder to shoulder there in the causes that he’s promoting,” said Tanenbaum. “Whether to community groups, to politicians, in Africa, it’s a title that allows him the platform. It’s a serious platform that he has and he is a serious guy.”
“It’s hugely important to both of us personally, for both Masai and myself. It’s a hugely important part of our lives,” Tanenbaum said. “For Masai, his work as our most senior executive with the Raptors and the successes that we have had can be seen in each game, each year as we’re as we’re building and as we won the NBA championship in 2019. But, for our basketball people, that’s his success. For me his success is on both businesses, basketball and making a difference in the world that we live in. He is making that difference.
“He has brought that aspect, whether it’s Giants of Africa or his work helping to build infrastructure through sport, to bringing sport into this, and really working with the many of the communities in Africa to educate. So it’s hugely important to me and our organization. It makes us all stand taller when we can get behind the work that Masai does off the court. We’re very proud of it.”