Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri issued a legal response Thursday to the lawsuit that Alameda County sheriff's deputy Alan Strickland filed against him, claiming that he was assaulted in the altercation immediately following Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, and not Strickland, according to The Athletic's Daniel Kaplan.
"As Mr. Ujiri attempted to enter the court, Mr. Strickland assaulted him, forcefully shoving him back once and then twice," Ujiri claims in his response. "Mr. Ujiri then shoved Mr. Strickland in the chest. Other than the shoves, the two men did not have any further physical contact with each other.
"The entire encounter between Mr. Strickland and Mr. Ujiri was brief. Mr. Ujiri was eventually escorted to the court where he joined his team, accepted the championship trophy, and gave a live on camera interview."
Both Ujiri and the NBA, which was also named as a defendant, further argue in separate responses that the risks assumed in Strickland's job should nullify his claims.
"Plaintiffs knew of the risks of injury and damage involved in their actions and conduct, and with full knowledge of such risks and appreciating the dangers thereof nevertheless voluntarily assumed such risks," the NBA said.
In his suit filed in February, Strickland claims Ujiri struck him "in the face and chest with both fists" after the Raptors executive failed to show his credentials while attempting to walk on to the Golden State Warriors' home court to celebrate Toronto's championship.
Ujiri's response denies Strickland's claim that he didn't possess visible credentials, but it doesn't elaborate further, according to Kaplan.
The 49-year-old Ujiri publicly spoke out against the lawsuit in February while in Senegal to promote the 2022 Youth Olympics. He called Strickland's claims "malicious," adding that he looks forward to "whatever is coming."