Sheriffs admit Raptors exec Masai Ujiri showed ID before Oracle Arena incident


Sheriffs admit Raptors exec Masai Ujiri showed ID before Oracle Arena incident

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office admitted that Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri showed his NBA identification before an alleged altercation with a sheriff's deputy last week at Oracle Arena.

The sheriff's office told The Globe and Mail on Wednesday that Ujiri informed the deputy he was the Raptors' president and then presented the ID, but he did not have the necessary credentials to get onto the court after his team beat the Warriors to clinch its first championship in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last Thursday.

Officials allege that Ujiri pushed and struck the deputy in the face after he refused to let the executive on the court, and an attorney hired to represent the deputy told multiple outlets earlier this week that his client has a concussion and a "serious jaw injury."

Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, told The Globe that security footage from Oracle Arena showed Ujiri hitting the deputy with "two fists" and that one struck the officer "underneath the jaw on the left side of his face." Three eyewitnesses, whom The Globe said "were sitting within 10 feet of the altercation," disputed that account.

"From what I saw it was just shoving," Lucas Abrenica, 20, said. "There were no punches thrown or anything like that."

Ben Baller, 46, told The Globe that Ujiri identified himself with a credential, which Kelly said was not the right one to get the executive on the court. Baller told the paper that "others in the area started shouting" Ujiri's position, but the deputy pushed him and "shook his head 'no.' "

Greg Wiener, 61, said Ujiri "brushed" away the deputy's arm after he blocked his path to the court, "then the deputy got a little bit more aggressive," pushing Ujiri first.  

“That’s when Mr. Ujiri pushed the deputy hard,” Wiener said.

Kelly told The Globe that the deputy pushed Ujiri first, but the executive pushed with greater force. Two of the witnesses who spoke to The Globe said the deputy appeared to be "uninjured," but Kelly claimed the officer was diagnosed with a concussion after going to a hospital later that night.

KPIX-TV reported Monday that Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern "personally reviewed" the deputy's bodycam footage, as well as that of Oracle's security cameras. He told the outlet that he will recommend the district attorney charge Ujiri with misdemeanor battery of an officer. 

The Raptors did not comment on The Globe's story but said in a statement to NBC Sports Washington last week that the encounter "is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities. We look forward to resolving the situation."

Kevin Durant compares himself to Steph Curry, Klay Thompson as shooter

Kevin Durant compares himself to Steph Curry, Klay Thompson as shooter

It seemed wild at the time and it will be even crazier years from now. The Warriors really might have had the three best shooters in the NBA all on the same team in Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. 

But, who's the best of the best out of that sharpshooting trio? Now that KD no longer is teammates with the Splash Brothers, he took a crack at answering the question. 

"Steph," Durant said without hesitation to Raptors center Serge Ibaka on the premiere of "How Hungry Are You?" 

But KD needed some clarification. Did Ibaka mean the current crop of Warriors or was his former Thunder teammate talking about when Durant played for Golden State? 

"Steph's the best shooter, and it's the prettiest," Durant said. "Klay, when he gets hot, I've never seen someone get that scorching hot before. But Steph is the best shooter." 

The two-time Finals MVP had to take it a step further with he and former point guard, though. 

"I'm probably like 1-A and Steph's probably 1-A2," he said. "I'm a little bit above Steph. He's just like a tiny bit under me." 

The comment clearly was all in good fun, and Durant said Curry is a better player than Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook later in the show. For comparison's sake, Steph and KD have two of the sweetest strokes of all time. 

[RELATED: Wait, what? MJ believes Steph isn't a Hall of Famer 'yet']

Curry has shot 47.7 percent from the field for his career and a ridiculous 43.6 percent from 3-point range. Durant has been more efficient from the field at 49.3 percent while making 38.1 percent of his shots from long distance. 

When it's all said and done, it forever will be wild these three players shared the same court with the Warriors. 

NBA predictions 2019-20: Steph Curry wins MVP, Lakers reclaim title

NBA predictions 2019-20: Steph Curry wins MVP, Lakers reclaim title

For the first time in five seasons, the NBA finds itself in new territory entering the 2019-20 season. 

No longer are the Warriors prohibitive favorites. League uncertainty, coupled with notable player movement across conferences, makes the upcoming season as unpredictable as it has been in recent years. 

Nevertheless, that doesn't stop one from predicting an uncertain season in the association. To get you ready for opening week, here are your predictions for the upcoming year.  

Defensive Player of the Year - Rudy Gobert

Gobert dominated defensively last season, ranking third in the league in blocks and held teams to just 45.2 percent from the field. Gobert's contribution's helped Utah rank second in the league in defensive efficiency. 

If Gobert were to win, he'd become just the second player to win three straight DPOY awards, joining Dwight Howard.

[RELATED: Draymond not focused on DPOY]

Rookie of the Year - Ja Morant

With Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson out six-to-eight weeks due to meniscus surger, Morant is in the driver's seat for the award. 

Morant -- who averaged 24.5 points, 10 assists and 6.5 rebounds in his sophomore year at Morgan State -- will be featured on a Grizzlies team in transition, having traded away franchise pillars Mike Conley and Marc Gasol in the last year. 

With that in mind, Morant will have ample opportunities to show his ability this season. 

MVP - Stephen Curry

With Kevin Durant gone to Brooklyn, and Klay Thompson not expected back this season, most of the offensive burden will fall on Curry. 

Curry has shown to be worthy to carry the offensive torch. In 2016, Curry had the highest player efficiency rating since 1991, while leading the league in 3-pointers made (402), steals (169), win-shares (17.9) and value over replacement (9.8) while finishing second in usage.

The key to Curry's season will be his health. Over the last two seasons, Curry has missed a combined 44 games due to injury, including 31 during the 2017-18 season. Last season, it was a non-contact groin injury that forced the guard to miss more than two weeks.

[RELATED: MJ claims Steph not a HOFer 'yet']

Most Improved Player - Lonzo Ball

During his first two seasons in the league with the Lakers, Ball struggled through injuries, expectations of Los Angeles, and ongoing litigation centered around his company Big Baller Brand. 

Now, in New Orleans, he is far away from the distractions, and is alongside a healthy young cast featuring Brandon Ingram and Williamson. If Ball can recapture the magic that made him a No. 2 overall pick, the Pelicans could be a fringe playoff team. 

Sixth Man - Lou Williams

At this point, Williams is like Nicki Minaj at the BET Awards in the late 2010s. If he is on the floor, an award is expected to come his way. 

Last season, he won his second straight award (and third overall), averaging 20 points, three rebounds and five assists. In the playoffs, he helped the Clippers push Golden State to six games in their first-round NBA playoff matchup. 

This season, Williams is expected to play starters minutes off the bench, giving yet another opportunity for the veteran the claim an award that should be named after him when its all said and done. 

Coach of the Year - Doc Rivers 

Last season, despite the Clippers trading away Tobias Harris -- the team's leading scorer -- Los Angeles surprisingly won 48 games and nearly eliminated Golden State in the first round. 

Now, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the roster, Rivers is expected to lead the current roster to a title. 

Rivers has experience coaching stars, having led the 2008 Celtics -- featuring Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen -- to a title, earning COY honors along the way.

Best Record - Milwaukee Bucks

The best way to quiet the noise of Giannis Antetokounmpo's pending free-agency will be to get off to a hot start. 

Milwaukee has the team to do it, with shooters like Kyle Korver, Brook Lopez and Wes Matthews to spread the floor around the Greek Freak. 

Antetokounmpo, months removed from winning his first MVP, should be primed for a run at another award.

[RELATED: Steph 'optimistic' about Warriors in 2019]

NBA Champs - Los Angeles Lakers

With a historic offseason, the Lakers seem to have their most balanced team in years on paper. The tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis should help with the bulk of the offensive output. 

The signings of Avery Bradley and Danny Green give Los Angeles top-level defenders, a welcome sign for a team that finished in the middle of the league in defensive rating last season.

But the key will be James, who is entering his 17th season on Tuesday evening. With Golden State no longer a contender, he should push to his first title since 2016.

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with the NBA Tip-Off Show, streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!