by Todd Johnson
Drake’s latest album Nothing Was The Same willreportedly land at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart this week. Monday, the Toronto Raptors named the Grammy-winning hip-hop artist its new ”global ambassador.”
Drake, 26, said he wants his hometown Raptors to be “one of the biggest teams in the league.”
“I want to be involved as possible,” Drake said. “Anything [team officials] need me for I want to be here. The sky’s the limit.”
The press conference also served as the official announcement that Toronto would host the NBA All-Star Game in 2016. That last bit of news was almost an afterthought Monday, as question after question was directed at Drake and what his role would be with the league’s only Canadian-based franchise.
Would he help the Raptors land big-name players? Would he be in the meetings to help recruit? How about his seats for the game?
“I hope to not only have great seats, I hope to attend as many games as possible,” said Drake, a Raptor season-ticket holder.
The Raptors finished 34-48 in 2012, good for dead last in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division. It’s been eight full seasons since the team traded away superstar Vince Carter.
Possibly the team’s second-most-known player, Chris Bosh, left via free agency in 2010 to join the Miami Heat. Bosh has won two titles with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and hasn’t looked back since.
Raptors guard Terrance Ross won the slam dunk contest earlier this year, which may have been the team’s most notable moment all season. In May, the team brought in a new general manager, Masai Ujiri. Ujiri was named the 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year for his work with the Denver Nuggets.
Drake’s new role with the Raptors has already brought forth comparisons to fellow rapper Jay Z’s role with the Brooklyn Nets. Jay Z not only helped put the Nets on the map, he’s made their team home the Barclays Center, a premiere destination for entertainers and other big-time events.
On the heels of Jay Z selling his ownership stake in the franchise, the Nets brought in recently retired Jason Kidd as head coach. The Nets also engineered a trade that brought in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Drake will have a steeper mountain to climb in order to accomplish similar shake-ups in Toronto – but he assured the assembled media that he was “all in.”
“Whatever it takes, we’ll get it done,” Drake said.
Let the re-branding begin.
January 26, 2015 //
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