As many of you know by now, the Toronto Raptors announced rapper Drake as an ambassador of the organisation. The appointment was made as the city of Toronto was chosen to host the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. I went through the reasons why Drake would be a good fit for the Raptors, but here are three reasons why Drake could be bad news for the team.
1. The Raptors find themselves in limbo
The appointment of Drake, a global rapstar, could prove to tarnish the Raptors’ reputation from a basketball point of view. With so much attention and media coverage poured into the announcement since Monday, it has taken the shine away from the upcoming season, putting so much focus on the All-Star Game over two years away.
What does this mean until then? Are the Raptors a franchise pushing for the playoffs, or are they a team just happy to receive a lot more attention in the near future? When GM Masai Ujiri was asked whether his team had thought about tanking the season in order to receive the no. 1 draft pick, he seemed lost for words on the matter.
“I will let that come to us. If that was the situation, then we’re fine with it”, Ujiri said at the team’s Media Day this week. Not the comments of a playoff bound team — more of a team in limbo.
2. Another ‘rebranding’ phase
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainent CEO Tim Leiweke also announced that he would be revamping the Raptors brand. It was first thought that this would involve a name change, but this notion has since been confirmed untrue.
It is unclear of the exact elements that are to be rebranded, and the underlying issue remains: this will not help the Raptors win. Just like the uniform change from purple to red in 2008, team colors do now equal wins.
3. Will he have any tangible impact whatsoever?
The ultimate question is will the appointment of Drake have any positive consequences for the Raptors? When asked by a reporter of whether the All-Star Game matters to players, Rudy Gay replied, “No. It’s good for the city, the fans. As athletes, it doesn’t make us work any harder”.
Despite the attention from Drake posting on Twitter and Facebook about how excited he is to be with the Raptors, this again does not mean wins. If Drake is to have any lasting positive impact on his boyhood team, he will need to attract elite players north of the border. Only then will his appointment truly be successful.