Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri. Photo: Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP

TORONTO, Canada - Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri will honour his hero, Nelson Mandela, alongside a panel of esteemed guests on Tuesday, December 5th. To commemorate the fourth anniversary of Mandela’s passing.

"The Giant of Africa" will kick off with an intimate breakfast celebration in honour of the late South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner while supporting the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and Ujiri’s non-profit organization, Giants of Africa.

As part of the day’s events, the "The Giant of Africa" tribute will include a mini basketball camp at MLSE LaunchPad for students from nearby Nelson Mandela Park School. Members of Giants of Africa, the Toronto Raptors and MLSE LaunchPad representatives will conduct sessions on the court focused on Mandela’s five pillars of implementing change: Sports, leadership, community, freedom and future.

“Nelson Mandela has always been a personal hero of mine,” said Ujiri, founder of Giants of Africa and president of the Toronto Raptors. “His legacy and the way he dedicated his life to making the world better is what inspired me to start Giants of Africa 14 years ago. 

"Sport has the power to unite the world, and basketball can be used as a tool to educate and inspire youth to achieve their dreams. Nelson Mandela focused so much of his life to bettering the lives of youth globally. We are honoured to celebrate his life for the fourth consecutive year with a daylong tribute.”

Alongside Ujiri, special guests currently slated to attend include NBA alumnus and 2015 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Dikembe Mutombo, world renowned South African musician and humanitarian, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, NBA Africa vice president and managing director, Amadou Gallo Fall, television and radio personality George Stroumboulopoulos as well as, Women and Girls’ Advocate Youth Advisor to the UN Women Civil Society, Vivian Onano.

Ujiri’s non-profit Giants of Africa is in its fourteenth year and aims to empower and create growth opportunities for African youth both on and off the court. Since the Giants of Africa initiative began,

more than 100 former camp attendees have moved on to high school or university in the United States and Canada with approximately 20 currently playing professionally in Europe.

A tribute to Mandela’s life will also be recognized in-game as the Raptors take on the Phoenix Suns. To recognize the occasion, the full Raptors team will wear special commemorative edition Nike shooting shirts and the coaching staff and front office of both teams will don commemorative Giant of Africa lapel pins. 

The Toronto Raptors team store, powered by Real Sports Apparel, will sell limited edition ‘The Giant of Africa’ t-shirts featuring Mandela’s five pillars: being a leader, fighting for freedom, creating a better future, committing to the community and using sport to inspire change. Fans can purchase the limited-edition shirts during Tuesday’s game with proceeds supporting Giants of Africa.

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