Drake Re-Branding Toronto Raptors As Team's 'Global Ambassador'

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Drake shows his love for the game sitting courtside during the contest featuring the Toronto Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto
Drake shows his love for the game sitting courtside during the contest featuring the Toronto Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto

With his new studio album "Nothing Was The Same" expected to debut at number one on the Billboard charts and a (slightly delayed) tour getting ready to hit the road, Drake has added another task on his to-do list: saving the Toronto Raptors.

Drake has been named the NBA team's "global ambassador." The partnership was officially announced today at a press conference, where the rapper called the Raptors "my new family" and said "my goal is to do anything I'm asked to do to bring a championship to Toronto."

The news of Drake becoming a consultant for the Raptors coincided with confirmation Toronto will host the 2016 NBA all-star game and festivities at Air Canada Centre.

"I may as well be in charge of the tourism board in Canada," Drake told the Globe in an interview posted last night. "They should really put me on payroll, because I feel like I bring a lot of people to this city, and a lot of attention to this city."

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The position is also reportedly tied into a new clothing line Drake is creating around the basketball team, a team which over the years has exemplified Drake's single "Started From The Bottom" but unfortunately have remained there at the end of each season.

Drake is a regular court side presence at Raptor games and is expected to play a significant role in the re-branding of the Raptors, who are on the cusp of celebrating their 20th year in the NBA but have repeatedly missed the playoffs in recent years.

The singer also used a basketball analogy when discussing his own music. "When you start winning, people start wanting someone else to win, because it's just refreshing," he said. "I compare this album to LeBron [James] coming to Toronto and winning his third ring. Same guy, same talent, but a refreshing perspective on the win."

Already news has garnered some positive responses, none more so than Richie Peddie, a former executive at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) who would know the inner machinations of the Raptors from a business and marketing perspective.

"Very smart" Peddie tweeted yesterday afternoon regarding the Drake announcement.

And last week Raptors forward Amir Johnson posted a YouTube video where he would enter various retail outlets, purchase Drake's new album and hand them out for free. The video showed Johnson filling a shopping basket with dozens of copies with the cost setting the player back about $900. "Drake's a good friend of mine, he supports us, the Raptors and I want to support him," Johnson says at the end of the clip.

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford both attended today's press conference. Drake's tour behind his new album begins in Pittsburgh on Oct. 18.

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