Drake Says He Was Unsure Of How Sports Fans Would React To Raptors Partnership

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Drake Says He Was Unsure Of How Sports Fans Would React To Raptors Partnership

Drake speaks on his work with the Toronto Raptors, says he initially partnered with the team to support his hometown.

With the Toronto Raptors now in the NBA playoffs, Canadian singer/rapper Drake took some time to speak on the team he became global ambassador of last year, during an interview with Grantland.

The Young Money wordsmith says that he initially partnered with the Raptors because of his love for his hometown of Toronto, but eventually realized how much the partnership made sense after observing the team’s progress.

He added that since sports fans differ from his music fans, he was unsure of whether or not he’d be able to make an impact with his work for the Raptors.

“I think initially the union, the partnership between myself and the Raptors was purely for the fact that I love that city more than anything in the world,” Drake said. “I have too many tattoos and too many memories. I was born there, raised there. I grew there. And I just wanted to really support the team. I didn’t necessarily know how it was gonna go. I didn’t know if I would be able to make an impact in sports because sports is way different, you know? You look at sports fan’s reactions to a lot of things. Whether it be me hosting the ESPYs or whether it be—It’s just sports is a different type of appreciation. When people from other genres start coming in. So, I had high hopes for what we could accomplish, but I was just there purely for the city. And the union made sense.”

Drake later commended Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri and Tim Leiweke, CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, for their work in getting the Toronto Raptors to where they are today.

“I think that all the elements have to be in place,” he said. “And now it’s up to Masai and Tim and us. I mean, all of us. I like to include myself, but I like to give the credit to them. It’s up to us to now build on what we have. And what we have maybe a few months ago I would have been like ‘Well, we really gotta build on.’ But what we have it ain’t so bad when you really take a look at it. I mean, it’s incredible.”

It was in September of last year when it was announced that Drake would soon serve as host, business partner, and consultant for the Toronto Raptors beginning with the 2014-15 season. During a press conference held last year in honor of his new position, the Toronto musician doted on his hometown.

“There’s something genuine about this city. There’s something great,” Drake said. “I think aside from that with All-Star coming here there’s an untapped nightlife, restaurants, culture. There’s so much to soak in and I think that our goal is in 2016 to truly showcase that, not only for the players, but also for everybody.”

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