Toronto Raptors: Drake
Last fall, I wrote a preview piece for The Step Back’s inaugural Season Preview about the effect that Drake might have on the Raps’ success this season. I estimated that because he was not expected to release as much music as last season, the Raptors were bound to win several more games. ESPN writer Zach Lowe famously called Toronto’s team the Drakes until last season, when their success surpassed the silliness of that name. This connection between rapper and team is hilarious and important and we all love it.
About three seasons ago, when the Raptors fell backward into contention following Rudy Gay’s injury and Kyle Lowry’s eruption, Drake finally latched onto this team. In the past, he had hung around with whichever team was most interesting in the moment, most notably the John Wall/DeMarcus Cousins era at the University of Kentucky. The beginning of Drake’s public sports fandom sort of reminded you of another young pop star’s recent tweets:
But as a liaison to the culture for Toronto and the Raptors, Drake has been fantastic. He’s a hysterical, beautiful part of the NBA landscape now. Perhaps his best moment came earlier this year, in a broadcast that has now become famous, when he wore a shirt featuring analyst Doris Burke’s face printed largely upon it.
Drake is not only the most famous Raps fan, he might be the biggest and best NBA fan overall. He is hosting this year’s NBA Awards Night and really seems to love the league. You could say his absorption into the world of basketball is giving it more life.