NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Keep it classy, Toronto.
That’s the message Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams sent in response to the profanity that Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri heaved in the direction of New York City’s most populous borough.
During a pregame address meant to pump up a group of fans outside Toronto’s Air Canada Centre before Game 1 of the teams’ playoff series, Ujiri said, “F— Brooklyn.”
In a needling statement released later Saturday, Adams said: “It’s unfortunate that the Raptors’ GM felt desperate facing our Nets that he would throw profanity around discussing our beloved borough, but I can’t say I’m surprised. After all, Brooklyn is a classier place. Just compare Babs (Barbra Streisand) to Biebs (Justin Bieber), or spend some time with their…colorful mayor. Still, we spread love; it is, after all, the Brooklyn way.”
In an interview Sunday morning with WCBS 880, Adams took more shots at Bieber and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who has generated headlines for admitting to smoking crack cocaine while in “a drunken stupor” and knocking over a city councilwoman while charging through the council’s chambers.
“When you have a place where the mayor smokes crack and Baby Bieber shows crack, you could expect something like that from him (Ujiri),” Adams told WCBS. “He needs to stop talking about it and put his product where his mouth is.”
Adams also suggested that he and Ford place a wager on the series.
“I’m willing to send North some of Brooklyn’s best if the Raptors can prevail, perhaps a six-pack from Brooklyn Brewery or a CD from the First Family of hip-hop,” referring to Jay-Z and Beyonce, Adams said.
Ford had not responded to the request as of Sunday morning.
Ujiri, the NBA’s reigning executive of the year, had already apologized by halftime of Saturday’s game, which the Nets won 94-87, saying he’d made the “wrong choice of words” and was “just trying to get our fans going.”
Asked if the profanity represented his feelings about the Nets, who have been accused of tanking in order to face Toronto in the first round, Ujiri said: “You know how I feel. I don’t like them, but I apologize.”
Raptors coach Dwane Casey said he had no problem with Ujiri’s colorful language.
“It doesn’t offend me whatsoever,” Casey said. “That’s Masai. That’s why our team plays like that. He’s a fiery guy. That should represent how we feel.”
Toronto guard Kyle Lowry echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“(Ujiri) is a very passionate guy,” Lowry said. “He believes in what we have and what we’re doing.”
Nets coach Jason Kidd, meanwhile, claimed not to have heard about either the controversial comments or Ujiri.
“I don’t even know who the GM is,” Kidd said.
Ujiri’s remarks weren’t the only dig aimed Brooklyn’s way. The front page of Saturday’s Toronto Sun billed the first-round series as “Raptors vs. Dinosaurs,” in reference to the ages of Brooklyn stars Paul Pierce, 36, and Kevin Garnett, 37.
“It’s all good,” Garnett said. “It’s motivation.”
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