NBA

Raptors president, vice-chairman Masai Ujiri tests positive for COVID-19

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri said he tested positive for COVID-19 after his Giants of Africa organization held an in-person event on Sunday, in which some of the guests also returned positive tests.

Team earlier cancelled Thursday practice due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Toronto Raptors vice-chairman and president Masai Ujiri, seen above in 2019, has tested positive for COVID-19. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Toronto Raptors vice-chairman and president Masai Ujiri has tested positive for COVID-19.

Ujiri announced the positive test in a release issued Thursday evening by the Raptors.

He said he tested positive after his Giants of Africa organization held an in-person event on Sunday, in which some of the guests returned positive COVID tests.

Ujiri said everyone who attended had to show proof of vaccination, and to wear masks when not eating or drinking. He said he is double-vaccinated and has received a booster shot.

"I am now at home, observing the safety protocols by self-isolating for 10 days, monitoring for symptoms and undergoing testing, and I encourage everyone who attended to please do the same," Ujiri said.

"We don't want to live in fear of this virus, but COVID is a persistent enemy. Together, we'll defeat it."

The Raptors cancelled their practice Thursday for precautionary reasons. They are scheduled to host the New York Knicks on Friday.

The Raptors were coming off a 110-109 loss to the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, the fifth game of a season-long seven-game homestand for Toronto.

The team hasn't travelled outside Canada since they visited Indiana on Nov. 26. The Pacers also cancelled practice on Thursday due to health and safety protocols.

Toronto's players and staff are fully vaccinated, while the NBA has said 97 per cent of players and staff are vaccinated.

After dozens of games were postponed last season due to COVID-19, no games have yet to be rescheduled this season, despite several players being sidelined for health and safety protocols. Chicago Bulls star and former Raptor DeMar DeRozan is currently out due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Charlotte Hornets placed four players — LaMelo Ball, Jalen McDaniels, Mason Plumlee and Terry Rozier — in protocols last weekend.

The NBA's health and safety protocols require players to be sidelined at least 10 days or record two negative COVID-19 tests in a 24-hour period before they can resume basketball activities.

The Raptors were hit by a COVID-19 outbreak in late February when they were playing out of Tampa, Fla. They tumbled down the Eastern Conference standings in March and eventually missed the playoffs.

Toronto was the only team to play outside its market last season. The team was forced to relocate due to border restrictions around the pandemic and municipal and provincial health and safety measures.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

Toronto's Scottie Barnes controls the ball during a NBA team scrimmage in London, Ont., in October. The Raptors cancelled practice on Thursday out of an "abundance of caution" regarding COVID-19 health and safety protocols. (Nicole Osborne/The Canadian Press)

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