In a 90-minute special conversation that shares stories of hope, resilience, and the unifying power of sport, TSN’s Kayla Grey and Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri team up to co-host WALKING WITH GIANTS: EMPOWERED BY SPORT, airing tonight (Friday, June 5) at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN. Immediately following the special, at 9 p.m. ET, TSN presents the television premiere of the award-winning documentary GIANTS OF AFRICA.
In WALKING WITH GIANTS: EMPOWERED BY SPORT, Grey and Ujiri lead a conversation about systemic racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, the protests currently unfolding around the world, and the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The special also features interviews with African-born Toronto Raptors stars Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka, CTV’s THE SOCIAL Co-Host Marci Ien, and retired NBA All-Star and Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo.
“This special is an incredible example of the kind of change we can see when leaders are empowered and present. That same leadership is needed right now as we look to address and affect change when it comes to another pandemic we’ve long been facing: racism,” said Grey. “We initially taped this special last week, but with the murder of George Floyd and the protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality, we felt we had to add more to our discussion. Speaking on it is not enough; action is needed. But I’m hopeful that the open and honest conversations that we’re making space for are just the start.”
“Sports can bring us together. It can unite us. In these times, what do we need more than unity, community, and shared purpose? I know that sports can play a role as we search for solutions to the pandemics of systemic racism and COVID-19,” Ujiri said. “And as we face these, we look to youth both as a reminder – this is who we are doing this for – and as an inspiration, a source of resiliency and courage.”
The CSA award-winning documentary GIANTS OF AFRICA is a behind-the-scenes look at a basketball youth program set up in Africa by Ujiri, showcasing basketball as a tool to create lasting change and to empower others to dream big. A native of Nigeria, Ujiri’s love for basketball paved his way to becoming the first African-born General Manager for a major North American sports team, and he never forgot his roots or the opportunities presented to him.
Founded by Ujiri in 2003 and inspired by the NBA’s “Basketball Without Borders” program, the Giants of Africa program exists to create those same opportunities for not only African youth, but also for coaches and mentors who go back to their own homeland to influence future generations. What began simply as a basketball camp in one African country has now spread across 16 countries. The documentary follows the journey across four nations: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda.
With 50 campers in each country, viewers learn about the journey that brought them to Giants of Africa. The documentary shares stories that range from inspiring to heartbreaking, witnessing the struggle the continent of Africa faces, through the eyes of its youth. Their zest for life in Africa shines through despite their struggles. Through it all, viewers see young men realizing their strength and potential through the game of basketball.
For all the latest on TSN’s programming, please check TSN.ca for the most up-to-date broadcast schedule.