Raptors news: The touching reason for Toronto's tribute to Wayne Embry
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The touching reason for Raptors’ tribute to first African-American GM Wayne Embry

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Prior to their game against the Boston Celtics on Friday, the Toronto Raptors arrived by wearing a special shirt honoring the first ever African-American general manager in the NBA, Wayne Embry.

The touching move from the defending champions came as a result of the recent passing of John Lewis and this inspired them to honor living legends such as Embry. Raptors coach Nick Nurse explained (via News Optimist) why they chose to give a tribute to their former GM and President.

“With the passing of John Lewis here recently, one of our members of our leadership team came up with this fantastic idea to honour some living legends, that did some historic things,” Nurse said. “And Wayne Embry, right in our own organization, was one of those, becoming the first African-American general manager, then the first African American team president.”

Embry made history by becoming the league’s first African-American general manager with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1972. He also went on to manage the Cleveland Cavaliers and later, the Raptors, as president in 2005 and general manager in an interim capacity in 2006.

Nurse added that it’s just right that for the Raptors to honor Embry given that their current GM Masai Ujiri comes from African descent as well.

“I think it’s fitting because we’ve got Masai Ujiri as a team president as well, and that’s kind of symbolic for Masai to say ‘Because of you Wayne,'” Nurse said.

Nurse also expressed his happiness with getting to know Embry personally and just being in touch with him. Likewise, Nurse is very proud of what they did on Friday night. He also hopes other teams would follow suit with their gesture on Friday night as the NBA continues to use the restart as a platform to let their voices be heard.

“I’m really proud to be wearing this shirt, and I’m really proud of the organization for having this night.”