As the so-called "Global Ambassador" for the Toronto Raptors, Drake, has worn a lot of different hats for the team over the last few years. He’s done everything from showing up at games to heckle opposing players (which, truth be told, is probably something he would have done even without the fancy title) to helping the Raptors pull off a series of successful "Drake Nights." He’s also brought a certain visibility to the team that likely wouldn’t exist without him, and he’s even played a role in designing some new OVO uniforms the team will wear during several games this season.
Because of all these things, the Raptors have apparently decided to expand Drake’s role and give him even more responsibilities within their organization. No, he won’t be in charge of pulling off any trade deadline deals this February, and he won’t have anything to do with who the Raptors pick in the draft in June. But he will play a prominent role in the new "Welcome Toronto" campaign the team is launching this season.
The campaign is being billed as an "immersive brand experience focused on art, community, and ball," and it will include six "Welcome Toronto" and OVO-themed home games between now and the end of the 2017-18 NBA season. During those games, the Raptors will wear their OVO jerseys and play on a brand new court made from northern maple wood and outfitted in the OVO black and gold. And Drake’s working relationship with the Raptors will go even deeper than that.
Since becoming the team’s Global Ambassador, Drake has obviously stirred up a lot of interest in basketball north of the border, and that is expected to continue now that the Raptors and OVO have teamed up to pledge $1 million over the next three years in order to refurbish basketball courts located throughout the local community. The Raptors and OVO will also donate $2 million over the next five years to Canada Basketball in order to continue to develop the sport of basketball at the grassroots level throughout the country.
The Raptors are promising more details on their latest partnership with Drake on Wednesday night.
But until then, here are the six "Welcome Toronto" games that will be played this season:
Friday, Jan. 26 vs. Jazz
Sunday, Jan. 28 vs. Lakers
Friday, Feb. 2 vs. Trail Blazers
Friday, Mar. 9 vs. Rockets
Friday, Mar. 23 vs. Nets
Friday, Apr. 6 vs. Pacers
Stay tuned for any additional details.