Africa Is Looking Up To Nigeria For The Right Directions, Says Ujiri

Africa Is Looking Up To Nigeria For The Right Directions, Says Ujiri

The Toronto Raptors vice chairman and president, Masai Ujiri, believes that Africa will achieve a lot when Nigeria

Toronto Raptors Vice Chairman Masai Ujiri, is of the opinion that Africa will do well when Nigeria makes the right moves in all directions, especially in sports development.

Ujiri, who is the co-founder of the Giants of Africa, believes Nigeria and Africa can achieve far above average in sports if those in charge of administration and leadership push more investments towards the development of more sporting infrastructure.

The former D’Tigers player who spoke in Lagos said, “Nigeria is the heart of Africa, that’s why you have it positioned there. When Nigeria moves, Africa moves. Africa is looking up to Nigeria for the right moves. This continent is about the youths and we are inspired by them especially when we gather like this. They will continue to be leaders and they will change Africa,” Ujiri said in Lagos.

Masai spoke when the Giants of Africa, the non-profit organization he co-founded, returned to Lagos, Nigeria to host a youth basketball clinic at the Ilupeju Grammar School where they unveiled a basketball court in 2021. The clinic welcomed Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who shared remarks with the youth and participated in on-court activities.


In addition, through their non-profit organization, the Archewell Foundation, they made a commitment to donate to Giants of Africa, supporting the construction of a new basketball court in Abuja, Nigeria.


This contribution bolters the organization’s ambitious initiative, ‘Built Within,’ a multi-year, 100-court investment in sports infrastructure across Africa.


“We are grateful to be joined by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at this basketball clinic here in Lagos,” said Masai Ujiri.


“Basketball has the power to unite communities and inspire young people to reach their full potential. Teaming up with the Archewell Foundation, we look forward to creating experiences for young people, empowering them to become leaders, while also fostering pathways to opportunity and hope.”


In another talk with the media on the sidelines of the same event the ex-Nigeria international added, “Africa is blessed and there is something we have that nobody in the world has as much as us and that is the talent base.”


“The talent base in Africa is big and these youths you are seeing today, would surely become something big in life and so why can’t we give them the platform to succeed,” Ujiri asked.


The Giants of Africa is almost at the halfway mark of its ‘Build Within’ initiative with some 38 basketball courts already built across Africa including in Lagos, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Tanzania, Rwanda, Morocco amongst others. The organization has done effective basketball and leadership programmes in some other African countries, including Somalia.


Masai who spoke likewise in January at the launch of The Arena in Lekki, Lagos believes that the government has a bigger role to play in building more infrastructure so that upcoming talents can fulfill their potential.


“Already, we have built about 38 courts across Africa and we are going to open more soon in the summer; we are slowly getting there and we are right about half way to our target of 100 and you hear the Duke and Duchess of Sussex say they are going to donate a court to us through their Archewell Foundation in Abuja and that is an additional court that would build in Abuja.


Ujiri is the first and only African-born President of a professional sports franchise in North America. In 2019, Masai led the Raptors to their first-ever NBA Championship and the first NBA Championship won by a team outside the United States in NBA history.


In 2003, Masai co-founded the Giants of Africa Foundation, based on the idea of using basketball as a means of educating and enriching the lives of African youth – both boys and girls. GOA has used sport to help empower youth to dream big, hosting basketball camps and clinics for boys and girls in 17 countries across the continent.



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