Lawsuit, countersuit stemming from NBA Finals altercation involving Ujiri dropped

·3 min read

OAKLAND, Calif. — A California law enforcement officer has dropped his lawsuit against Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri that stemmed from an altercation at the 2019 NBA Finals.

Lawyers for Alameda County sheriff's deputy Alan Strickland and his wife, Kelly Strickland, filed for dismissal Wednesday in a California district court.

Strickland, who was seeking US$75,000 in general damages as well as other compensation, alleged he suffered injuries when he was pushed by Ujiri when the Raptors president tried to get on the court following his team's championship-clinching victory over the Golden State Warriors June 13, 2019, at Oakland's Oracle Arena.

The Raptors, team owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the NBA were also named in Strickland's lawsuit.

Ujiri later filed a countersuit, alleging unauthorized use of force by Strickland. That has also been dropped.

“Masai has been completely vindicated, as we always knew he would be," an MLSE spokesperson said in a statement. "We are disappointed that he and his family have had to endure the past 18 months of worry and uncertainty, but for their sake we are pleased the legal process has come to an end – and especially pleased that the claims made against Masai and MLSE were dismissed entirely, free of any financial settlement.

"We continue to be deeply troubled by the fact that Masai was put in this position in the first place, and believe he should never have had to defend himself. Masai is taking some time to process the ordeal, and intends to address it publicly at a later date."

The lawsuits stemmed from a shoving match between the two, which was caught on video by a fan, as Strickland tries to prevent Ujiri from accessing the court. The video appears to show Strickland shove Ujiri twice before the Raptors president responds.

Strickland's civil suit was filed after prosecutors decided in October not to press criminal charges against Ujiri.

Strickland, who claimed Ujiri did not show the proper credentials to access the court, alleged he suffered "injury to his head, body, health, strength, nervous system and person, all of which caused and continue to cause great mental, physical, emotional and psychological pain and suffering.''

Ujiri called Strickland's lawsuit "malicious," and Warriors president Rick Welts apologized to the Raptors executive after video of the incident was widely circulated.

"I'm certainly happy it's over for him and that he is done with it. . . it's a long process that he had to go through, but he did it properly and just went through it without ever wavering," Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said before the Raptors played the Wizards in Washington on Wednesday.

"I'm sure he's glad it's over with, as we all are."

Alameda County Sheriff's spokesman Ray Kelly said Strickland has since returned to work and has been assigned to administrative duties.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press