Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke delivered two pieces of news on Monday. As much of the room expected, Toronto Raptors would host its first ever NBA All-Star Weekend. Secondly, rap star Drake was announced as ambassador for the franchise in the run up to the event in 2016.
Drake had previously been associated with the Raptors through courtside seats at home games and other All-Star weekends. He even calls himself a Raptor fan “to death”.
So is this appointment a good or bad idea for an NBA franchise near the bottom of the league’s basement? A franchise that is trying its utmost to establish a professional and reputable image around the world, not just North America. Here’s three reasons why Drake is a great for the Raptors:
1. People have now actually heard of the Raptors
If you ask the average person in the street, chances are they have never heard of Toronto’s NBA team. They will likely say the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat when asked who their favorite basketball team is.
The excitement of Drake’s announcement has flown over to his social media sites, where he has a combined following of over 45 million people around the globe. This can only be fantastic coverage of the Raptors franchise and is surely the first appointment of its kind. No other team in any sport comes to mind, so at least Drake and Leiweke have a first under their belts.
2. Attraction of Toronto as an NBA franchise
Outside of Canada, you will struggle to find many players that have a decent thing to say about the city, let alone play there. The addition of Drake to the team has already shone light on the franchise and will continue to do so in the background.
But it is the connections and influence that a global icon like Drake can have on the elite players in North America. The rap and basketball worlds are becoming ever closer and with Drake on Toronto’s side, the city may be seeing another global star very soon.
3. One of Toronto’s own leading the way
What better leader and face of the franchise than Toronto’s ‘golden boy’? Born and bred in Toronto, Drake is of course a self-proclaimed lifelong Raptor fan. He will inject a new sense of optimism for his team that will spread throughout the city. The Raptors are near the basement of the league as it is, so what harm will it have?