The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday that Jama Mahlalela (Jah-MAH MAH-la-lay-lah) has been named head coach of their NBA G League affiliate, Raptors 905. Mahlalela becomes the third head coach in team history and joins the club following five seasons as an assistant coach at the NBA level.
“We are very excited to add Jama as our new head coach,” said Raptors 905 General Manager, Dan Tolzman. “After proving himself as an assistant on the Raptors staff, having an opportunity to run his own team is a major step in his development as a coach. Jama has played a big part in developing our young Raptors core, and we look forward to him continuing to do so from the Raptors 905 sideline. He is an example of what homegrown talent can achieve in this growing global game.”
A native of Mbabane, Swaziland, Mahlalela grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and played collegiately for five years at the University of British Columbia. He served as an assistant coach at the University of Toronto and worked at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment as a member of the community development staff, organizing Raptors Basketball Academy and various clinics throughout Canada. Mahlalela was later named director of basketball operations for NBA Asia and oversaw the Leagueʼs clinics, youth programs and elite-level development from his base in Hong Kong.
In 2011 Mahlalela joined the Raptors front office as director of player development, where he served for two seasons. He moved to the bench in 2013-14 helping with the teamʼs practice and game planning, individual player skill development and off-season programs. During the summers Mahlalela has been an active member in Masai Ujiriʼs Giants of Africa camps and the NBAʼs Basketball Without Borders program.
“I am excited and grateful for the wonderful opportunity to coach the Raptors 905 team,” said Mahlalela. “I am eager to share my passion for the development of this sport with our young players and hope to use my previous experience as a Raptors assistant coach to reinforce and strengthen the connection between the two programs. My family and I would like to extend our sincere thanks to
Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster, Dan Tolzman, Larry Tanenbaum and the entire ownership group.”
Mahlalela takes over a Raptors 905 team that has appeared in the NBA G League Finals in back-to-back seasons. He will be a part of the Raptors coaching squad for the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League next month.