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The Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA title on Thursday night with a 114-110 win over the Golden State Warriors, and major player in its success carries strong ties to Washington.

Jayda Evans of The Seattle Times dug up a gem of a photo of Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri in a Nathan Hale basketball team photo. Ujiri, whose acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard last summer and Marc Gasol at the trade deadline put the franchise in place for a title run, graduated from Nathan Hale in 1993.

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Nathan Hale adds another trophy connection with the Toronto Raptors' NBA championship. GM Masai Ujiri is a 1993 alum who suited up for the Raiders. He's jersey No. 44... #WeTheNorth #NBAFinals

Ujiri was born in Nigeria and has been well-traveled throughout his career in basketball. One of those stops was Seattle, where Ujiri moved from Nigeria to stay with a Nigerian family when he was 20 years old.

This chapter in Ujiri's life was briefly mentioned in a 2015 Sports Illustrated profile of the accomplished NBA executive.

Ujiri’s Seattle ties headline this week’s News&Notes from around high school sports in the state of Washington.

Here are some others (feel free to drop in the comments any more stories):

  • Oregon State named Mitch Canham as its next head baseball coach. Canham, who was recently managing the double-A Arkansas Travelers, is a Lake Stevens native, who attended Lake Stevens High School before helping the Beavers to back-to-back NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007.
  • A pitch count in softball? Josh Horton of The Everett Herald explores the topic and found mixed reactions.
  • Caleb Lightbourn, a former Camas High School punter, announced his transfer from the University of Nebraska to Oregon State. A senior in eligibility, Lightbourn will likely sit out a year, per NCAA transfer rules.

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The next step in my journey...... #BuildTheDam #TMC🔴⚪➡️🔶◼️


Andy Buhler is a reporter for Scorebook Live Washington. To hear him every week on the Scorebook Live Today podcast, subscribe here. Follow him on Twitter @AndyBuhler and reach him via email at