The Toronto Raptors will accept the NBA's offer to let them host the 2016 NBA All-Star game, and they've enlisted hip-hop's hottest rapper to make the event all it can be: Toronto native Drake.
Drizzy will help MC the All-Star game in an unofficial capacity, but the Raptors have plenty of work for Drake in the meantime. He's been tasked with helping remake the Raptors' jersey's for next season in honor of their 20-year existence.
During that time-frame, the Raptors only have one playoff series victory, and the team hopes Drake can help change that as well. After witnessing the transition of the lowly New Jersey Nets into the title-contending Brooklyn Nets under Jay Z, the Raptors think Drake might have a similar impact.
But the key element of Brooklyn’s resurgence is Jay-Z, and the trail of glamour he was able to lay down.
Hip hop’s cool uncle took an (incredibly tiny) ownership position in exchange for polishing the shield. He didn’t have to do much. Switch from Yankees to Nets ball-caps. Show up to a few games. Whisper in the ears of a few guys who grew up on The Blueprint.
The result is an almost instant contender, the sort of marquee brand future hall of famers want to be associated with.
Drake is already doing many of these things for free, but it’s never been directional. He is friends with many of the game’s stars (“No relationship is closer than me and LeBron,” he was once said), but he hasn’t taken an active interest in luring them to Toronto. In the past, there was no reason to do so, and no conduit through which to operate even if he felt like it.
Drake certainly doesn't have the cred that Jay Z has — who does? — but he can make a discernable difference amongst younger generations, particularly as there are growing numbers of fans supporting teams in other parts of the country in the internet era. Drake's NWTS is expected to earn the most first-week sales in hip-hop this year and his impact could be immeasurable in the long-run.
Of course, the main reason for BK's out-of-nowhere dominance is a billionaire Russian owner. Unless Drake has some money invested in some of those Canadian oil fields, he probably can't help all that much in that department.
That alone will hurt Drake's chances of making the Raptors cool, because losing isn't cool.