TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2014 /CNW/ – Toronto Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri will honour his hero Nelson Mandela alongside some of the world’s biggest sports icons this Friday, December 5. On the first anniversary of Mandela’s passing The Giant of Africa presented by Bell will be an evening-long celebration of the late former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner while supporting the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Ujiri’s non-for-profit organization, Giants of Africa.
The tribute will begin with a panel discussion inside the Toronto Raptors practice court before the team tips off against the Cleveland Cavaliers. In front of an intimate audience NBA legends Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson and Dikembe Mutombo, along with UN Goodwill Ambassador and 1999 Miss Universe winner Mpule Kwelagobe will discuss Mandela’s determination to inspire positive change and teach the world to rise above adversity regardless of situation. The panel discussion will also be moderated by TSN’s James Duthie and co-founder of Face2Face Africa, Sandra Appiah. Other notable guests of the event are Raptors alumnus Tracey McGrady, Toronto Maple Leaf Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan, Artistic Director of TIFF, Cameron Bailey, Toronto Argo alumnus Michael “Pinball” Clemons, Deputy Commissioner of the NBA, Mark Tatum and Vice President of NBA Africa, Amadou Fall. The Giant of Africa presented by Bell will raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation as well as Ujiri’s Giants of Africa with the purpose of continuing to create opportunities for African youth.
The tribute to Mandela’s life will then continue in-game as the Raptors take on the Cavaliers. To honour him, the full Raptors team will wear special, limited edition adidas shooting shirts and team management will don commemorative Giant of Africa lapel pins. In hopes to continue conveying Mandela’s impactful lessons amongst fans, the game will also feature special videos and content from the event’s panelists, special guests, Raptors and Cavaliers players and many more.
“We are fortunate to honour Mandela this Friday,” said Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors President and General Manager. “So much of what the world needs and deserves is what this great man was about. He knew that sport had the power to change the world and what a better place to celebrate this man then at this game in Air Canada Centre.”
To commemorate this special celebration, the Toronto Raptors 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 these shirts at Friday night’s game with proceeds supporting Giants of Africa.