Drake is the Raptors’ New Global Ambassador


Looks like Drake and the Raptors will soon share something in common: they’ve both started at the bottom, and they’re headed to the top.

In an announcement the came hot on the heels of Toronto accepting host duties for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, the Raptors and Drake have said they struck a partnership in which the rapper will act as the global ambassador for the faltering team.

Drake will take up the role of host, partner and image consultant for the Raptors as the process works out over the next two years. There are murmurs of a clothing line backed by the singer, as well as a complete overhaul of the organization’s image.

In fact, everything is on the chopping block except for the team’s name. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s president, Tim Leiweke, confirmed at the press meeting that the Raptors will be submitting an application to the NBA to change the team’s branding and colours. Later in the conference, Leiwieke also suggested that fan input has been taken into account.

“This new vision, this new buzz, this new excitement,” said Leiweke. “This is a sport that will rock the city going forward.”

Drake had only a few words for the journalists present, noting that it might be a little early to talk about end goals. However, he did let his excitement show about the process and said that he thinks the “sky’s the limit” for the team.

“I’m extremely passionate about two things: my city and my family,” said Drake. “Everywhere I go, I preach the gospel that is Toronto. I love the city with all my heart.”

The rapper spends much of his Toronto off-time working on his outside jump shot in the Raptor’s practice room, and counts many notable NBA players among his friends.

The Raptors seem to be banking on the star power their most famous fan can bring to the team, which may actually be a good idea: in recent memory, they only have a playoff series win and Vince Carter to really get behind. Another good point is that Drake is someone both the fans and the players themselves respect. As Cathal Kelley wrote for the Toronto Star, the guys will listen to someone that’s on their playlists, not a bunch of suits, which might entice some new talent to come to Toronto.

If chatter on Twitter is anything to go by, Raptors support seems to be roaring at an all time high—it’s been awhile since we’ve heard anyone say they’re excited for a Raptors season without a hint of irony. But that’s not the only new cause for celebration in Toronto.

MLSE’s chair, Larry Tanenbaum, also announced that the city will host the 2016 All-Star game. It will be the first time the All-Star Game has ever been hosted outside of the United States, and commands an economic boost of $100 million, said Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford.

“I was really, really thrilled to learn that Toronto would be hosting the 2016 NBA All-Star Game,” he said. “This is terrific news for the City of Toronto.”

We’re looking forward to seeing more from Drake and the Raptors’ rebranding process, which is expected to conclude in the 2014-2015 season.


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