Bobby Webster of birds of prey on a hap identity, Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam


In the second term – a Hawaiian phrase meaning “part” and referring to people of a mixed race – he described Webster's Japanese-American background. Webster's mother, Jean, came from Japanese immigrants who came to work in the stables planting Hawaiian sugar around the turn of the 20th century. Webster's father, Bob, moved Chicago's native person, who was refocused, to Hawaii in his late 20s and never left.

Although Webster is the only general manager with Asian heritage obsolete where less than 1 percent of Asian players are, he rejects any view that it is more emitting. Instead, the executive has mixed background, average, as a core strength. His exposure to various cultures in the small beach town of Kailua, Oahu, provided a work ethic that gave him the youngest GM of the NBA, at the age of 32, when he was promoted in 2017. He provided an open-open philosophy to the direction of the predators contributed to a major change following the departure of Kawhi Leonard.

“In our family, it was never so obvious: this is Asian, this is white,” Webster said. “I have never been restricted. If you are a white kid, this is a different experience. If you're full of Asian, you like everyone else (in Kailua). If you are not mixed, you are cool. Jeremy (Lin) was on the Eucharists and I spoke to him a lot. It looks at Asia, and (dealing with stereotypes or prejudice) it was much more like a person like it. I don't think super Asian or white. Both of them were releasing. I have always been accepted by both communities. I had the best of both worlds. ”

Identity is not a simple concept. It does not speak Japanese Japanese, and was listed as “Other Islander” rather than “Asian” on the NBA's Racial and Gender Report Card 2019.

But Japanese culture and habits are a major part of his life: he puts fried rice among his favorite foods, puts his shoes in the house and brought the Presidents to Japan for a preliminary results exhibition in October. When he was honeymooning with his wife, Lauren, in Tokyo in 2015, Webster's tempura chef hit a lifetime "humility, perseverance and quality excellence," and how he could see his " modes and recovery "appear throughout the city thousands of miles from his home.

In fact, the key professional challenge facing Webster this season is organizational recognition. After a big bet on the 2018 trade for Leonard, the Editors claimed their first title in the history of the franchise. A few weeks after the championship parade, Leonard, the MVP finals and the biggest player involved in Toronto, they are free to the Los Angeles clippers as a free agent.

When Leonard's top player leaves nothing, bad things usually happen. LeBron's departure departed 2010 into the lottery, a process that was repeated when he left the Miami Heat in 2014 and Cavaliers again in 2018. t followed by a major role in the Warriors' Golden State War; fall this season.

But Toronto is rolling with its first season without Leonard, taking a 9-4 record indicating a strong differential plus-7.2 point. Birds of prey have split personality – veterans who have been tested for them and young people hungry – but they are good to wear a relentless basketball style. Pascal Siakam, the best player recently, has taken another jump, emerging as a franchise player with an abusive game more developed than he showed last season.

Meaningful planning helped the birds' switching gears. Webster, who was recruited by Ujiri from the NBA league office, where he spent seven years working on a collective bargaining agreement and salary cap courses, said that Toronto began to consider the implications of Leonard's departure before they got it.

When Leonard brought his verdict on the early morning hours of 6 July, the Navigators went to their contingency plan, which involved the removal of the guard point, Kyle Lowry, with a stretch and exploration of Siakam to a maximum. These movements helped to consolidate the Toronto base and sent the message to ex-soldiers such as Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka which would be a priority for prizes, not rebuilding.

“These guys earned the right to run again,” Webster said. “We knew we had a core that could compete. Even if Kawhi and Danny (Green) are removed, she is a very good team. There was a lot of opinion (trade) but the plan was to keep this team together. Could the arrangement be better? We won a championship and (Leonard) who got home (to Southern California). ”

Siakam's development is an essential driver for the former Leonard Norwegians. The player was 25 years old from Cameroon a little gone on offense as long as 2018. This year, he has an average 25.7 points per game – 10th in the NBA – and he's comfortable as a three-shooter. point and as a ball handler. Pick a late first round in 2016 which flew under the radar at New Mexico State, Siakam has improved energy, length and polish and this should put the birds hard on the animals.

With regard to the Toronto front office, Siakam is justified in its decision to trade Leonard trade. Not only did Leonard deliver a title, Webster made a reasoning, but he left “inheritance (I know) what it takes to win that level” for franchises that had previously been defined by the shortcomings in the season.

“I took a lot with (Leonard),” said Siakam, and making him comfortable in his new role has already expanded less than a month into the season. “Relaxation, the way it doesn't really get rattled. I tried to add that to my game. … When you get a little more shooting ball, you get excited about you. I like that. "

As their future unfolds around Siakam and OG Anunoby, a 22-year-old athlete, the Norwegians are not pushing. Toronto has won more games than the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs from the start of the 2014-15 season thanks to a front office style that is defined by tactical strikes rather than wild swings.

Eventually, Toronto Gasol and Ibaka will be phased out in favor of a younger front line. Lowry, at 33, is not a long-term solution at this stage of his career either. For some executives, this could be like an uncomfortable purger: trapped between the best choice with the shelf title and inevitable inevitable effort.

Webster, however, is wired to deny false dichotomies. He warned of “mental termination” which could arise when people buy “specific ideals or restrictions” that put their families, friends or even themselves on them. His message to Japanese-American youngsters in the audience: pursuit of excellence, and do not be afraid to be part of a “generation who wants to say that you can do what you want and go into a field there is usually one or two ethnicity. ”

The Animals should, he believes, be unencumbered, able to learn from Leonard's time and succeed outside his shadow.

“You build a team and team based on values ​​and principles you want to live in,” Webster said. “When you meet, you have shared experience of what is involved (now) and what is not. How many men on this team have a ring? There is a lot of pride in this locker room. (It's difficult to get a job after titles), but our guests are competitive as hell. You take (competition) always with the alternative. ”


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