• Jerrod Mustaf

The Raptors’ African process on display

African handprints are all over the 2019 NBA Finals. From the breakout performance by Raptor Pascal Siakam in Game 1 to the Warriors Andre Iguodala hitting the dagger three in the closing seconds of Game 2. In Game 3 both Siakam and Ibaka made meaningful contributions with Siakam ending with 18 points, nine rebounds and passing six assists. Ibaka scored six points, grabbed five boards, stole the ball twice and blocked SIX shots.

The Toronto Raptors, whose African-dominant roster was constructed by Nigerian executive Masai Ujiri, has become the adopted NBA franchise of fans throughout the African continent and the diaspora. Ujiri, who also serves as the director of the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program, has played a vital role in the continent becoming a hotbed for talent. His efforts to train, scout and recruit prospects from the Motherland for an opportunity to attend schools in the United States are only the beginning of the Process. In a professional sports industry were competing teams look for successful patterns to emulate, Ujiri's strategic plan to extract NBA level talent from Africa for the contending Raptors will serve as precursor for an increase in African recruitment to NBA teams.

Ujiri's endeavor to assemble a NBA championship contending franchise was complimentary to his vision to secure burgeoning talent from his home continent.

Aside from the surprising trade for super star Kawhi Leonard, Ujiri accelerated the Raptors introduction to the NBA Finals with the insertion of three young Africa-born players: Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and OG Anunoby.

And if it wasn't for the late-game heroics of Nigerian-descendant Andre Iguodala, the African-dominant Raptors could be up 2-0 on the 2-time defending Champs. They now hold a 2-1 series lead after victory in Game 3 and are looking on course for an historic NBA title. The Process is on Display in The North!

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