A day ago, the playoff series between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets didn't appear to be high on the list of NBA playoff series in terms of entertainment value. Then Masai Ujiri happened. The first-year Raptors general manager was caught on video rallying the Toronto faithful with a "F--k Brooklyn!" near mic-drop, and so began the best playoff storyline after the first day of action.
The Nets had the last laugh after Game 1 in Toronto. They won 94-87 behind nine late points from Paul Pierce, and as expected, the tabloids from both New York and Toronto got creative in their reactions to the Brooklyn win and Ujiri's speech.
The New York Daily News is on its tabloid game today with the Nets-Raptors: pic.twitter.com/BLmXXEpQrC— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) April 20, 2014
Well, if we didn't have foe before, we do now! Raps vs /#nets & REFS tuesday! Today's New York Post. #Raptors pic.twitter.com/XQanJMaVQV— Jaime Ramos (@ramosjcr) April 20, 2014
#TOSunFront: @Raptors GM could be fined for F-bomb on @BrooklynNets. @simmonssteve column: http://t.co/pWx7H5a47g pic.twitter.com/B10T58vER3— Toronto Sun (@TheTorontoSun) April 20, 2014
Ujiri's comments were the spark to what's quickly become a must-watch series, but the Toronto Sun started off the smack-talking with a shot at the Nets beforehand. The Saturday front page of the paper jabbed at Brooklyn's age, leading with "Be careful what you wish for Brooklyn ... Garnett and Pierce are so old, the Raptor had to ask his dad about them." Smack dab in the middle, the headline read "Raptors vs. Dinosaurs."
While Ujiri has since apologized -- to a degree -- for his word choice, Toronto forward Amir Johnson didn't only back his boss's proclamation but repeated his words on Saturday, reports the Toronto Sun.
"He's a very passionate man. I definitely have his back, I'm with him 100%," Johnson said.
"If he says f___'em, we all say f___'em."
And after the Nets beat the Raptors on Saturday, Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd shot back Toronto's way, according to Newsday, telling the New York media that he didn't hear Ujiri's comments -- but clearly he had.
"You have to tell me who the GM is," Kidd said. "I don't even know who that is, so I could [not] care less what they think about Brooklyn. We have a job to do, and that's to play the game of basketball."
So yeah, the Nets-Raptors series suddenly leads the list of intriguing playoff storylines.
And one more time, here's the Instagram video of Ujiri sparking a media storm.