Masai Ujiri nearly missed the chance to celebrate his greatest professional achievement, if rumors are correct.
The Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations is accused of pushing and hitting a police officer on Thursday night at Oracle Arena moments after the team’s NBA Finals-clinching win over the Golden State Warriors. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to NBC Bay Area that a Raptors executive trying to enter the court from the stands and a deputy sheriff were involved in an altercation after the officer denied the executive entry onto the court because he didn’t have the proper credentials.
“We are working with the Oakland Police Department to file a report and contact witnesses and review video,” Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said.
Witnesses claim the executive involved is Ujiri, who built the Raptors into NBA champions. A video NBC Bay Area’s Kristofer Noceda shared on Twitter shows the apparent aftermath of the altercation between Ujiri and the deputy sheriff.
Officers didn’t take the executive into custody, and he was allowed to celebrate the Raptors’ triumph with other members of the team.
Nevertheless, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office described the incident as a misdemeanor battery on an officer and opened an investigation of it along with the Oakland Police Department. The sheriff’s office said it plans to hand the case to the district attorney.
UPDATE (1 p.m. ET): The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken on Friday it will purse a charge against Ujiri for his role in the altercation with the deputy.
Thumbnail photo via Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports Images