NBA Raptors' president breaks silence after being shoved on-camera

Masai Ujiri speaks in first TV interview after a sheriff deputy's leaked body camera footage shows a confrontation between the officer and the executive after his team won the championship in 2019.
5:29 | 02/24/21

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Transcript for NBA Raptors' president breaks silence after being shoved on-camera
We're back with an ABC news exclusive. The first TV interview with the president of the Toronto raptors since the sheriff's deputy shoved him while trying to celebrate the team's first NBA championship defeating the reigning champs, golden state, and, robin, I know you had a chance to speak to him. I did. Masai ujiri originally from Nigeria and has worked very hard to become the raptors' president, currently one of the only black NBA team presidents and wanted to enjoy the time honored tradition of joining his team on the court but a sheriff's deputy shoved him repeatedly in an altercation that made headlines around the world. He is now moving forward saying the incident is renewing his fight for social justice. There's a new NBA champion. Reporter: What was supposed to be a dream moment at the 2019 NBA finals -- We, the north, are now we the champions. Reporter: Turned into a nightmare for Toronto raptors president masai ujiri. Please, please, please. Please, please, please. You're making your way out to please tell us in your own word what is happened this Glen there's a lot of chaos going on on the court. I walk up and that's when I actually got stopped. Reporter: As ujiri makes his way on the court to celebrate the historic victory with his team a sheriff's deputy stops him aggressively shoving ujiri, not once, but twice. Please, please, please. Reporter: While ujiri is seen reaching for his credentials. What were you thinking at that moment. We don't buy a championship in Walmart. It's something you are trying so hard to do and you're trying to figure out how do I go and celebrate with my guys and now you get this confrontation and it confuses you, you know, and I honestly I was confused. You are taken aback and don't even know how to react. Reporter: He was eventually allowed to join his team on court. Players rallying behind him. Eight months later the deputy involved, Alan Strickland filing a civil suit for monetary damages against ujiri claiming ujiri injured him and was the aggressor. In the complaint Strickland alleging ujiri, quote, hit him in the face and chest with both fists. Ujiri's lawyers countersuing calling the deputy's account of the encounter a complete fabrication. Which ultimately led to the release of the body cam footage in August 2020. You saw it for the first time and everybody else was able to see what truly transpired. What was that moment like for you? I called my wife, I called our family and I couldn't sleep for three days, three, four days in the bubble because you -- seeing that tape, yes, you are vindicated. You feel that, yes, this is the right story, people said you punched a policeman, you hit his jaw, you broke his jaw, there's all kinds of things and you begin to doubt yourself. As time goes on, you begin to actually like wonder what really happened. Reporter: Both lawsuits have been dropped nearly two years after the encounter. But ujiri says the incident has reignited his push for equality. This is not just a legal fight that you have a new fight. What is your new fight with this? As much as we say, yeah, this happened to me, there's worse that happened to other people, right, George Floyd, I lost a moment. People have lost their lives. I say as humble as I can maybe the privilege or the job that I have to fight this, the wrongly accused, there's no body cam, nobody sees what happens and they're incarcerated or they're accused or they're charged. We have to fight for them. Reporter: Starting in scouting ujiri worked his way up in the league to become the Denver nuggets GM and has held the coveted spot as raptors team president since 2013. A humanitarian at heart, he's dedicated much of his career to philanthropy, empowering youth in his homeland for nearly two decades through his organization, giants of Africa. We want to teach basketball the basic fundamentals of it and we want to find talent but then it even grew bigger. They are incredible young girl, young boys that need a pathway. My job with the opportunity that the NBA has blessed me with, I have to continue to do this. We teach the kids more life skills, of being honest, being on time, respect for their elders, respect for women. Everybody, go like this. Reporter: As he encourages the next generation to dream big, ujiri says he now moves forward hoping for a future without discrimination. I want people to really think about humanity and who we are as human beings and it's really, really important that we treat each other well. We reached out to the sheriff deputy's legal team for comment. Thus far we have not heard back and ujiri says he is thankful for that body cam video that was only released after the sheriff's deputy. Chilling to hear him say he was rethinking what happened. Because he kept hearing it over and over but says he's so thankful it was released. Had it not many would have doubted his account. That's why he's moving forward and wanting to be the voice for those who don't have the video. Who don't have the evidence that something has happened to them and people not believing them as well.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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