The NBA is having its first ever NBA Awards show, and Drake will host the inaugural event in New York City. Here’s how the NBA described the event in their official press release.
Turner and the NBA today announced Drake – platinum-selling recording artist and multi-faceted entertainer – as host of the first-ever NBA Awards on TNT, airing Monday, June 26, with coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The inaugural event, held at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York City, will be the NBA’s official annual award show to honor all of the league’s top performers on one night for the first time.
In addition to being a renowned music artist, Drake is a team ambassador for his hometown Toronto Raptors. Drake was very visible when Toronto hosted the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend.
Former Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke spoke with Complex about Drake’s impact on the team.
“Drake came to be a part of our brand, our legend,” Leiweke told Complex. “If you look at We The North, that’s a very Drake-ish campaign. If you look at the logo, the uniforms, that’s a very Drake-inspired look. If you look at the merchandise and the marketing campaign, again, that’s very Drake-ish. Drake helps [the Raptors] look better and I think he’s helped us turn the corner and create a brand that’s had more success quicker because of his involvement.”
Drake is often seen at both college basketball and NBA games, causing some fans to accuse him of jumping on the bandwagon of top teams. From Kentucky coach John Calipari to LeBron James, Drake’s relationships within the sport go beyond the Raptors. James trolled him after the Cavs defeated the Raptors in the 2017 playoffs by asking where they were going for margaritas.
Drake spoke with ESPN about his unique relationship with the Kentucky basketball program.
I took a lot of days off to see Kentucky basketball games and me and John [Calipari] became good friends. And becoming friends with John, I became closer with John [Wall], DeMarcus [Cousins]…
I connected with them because they’re young and their lives are changing, and my life is changing. It’s sort of like on my album, ‘Sports and music are so synonymous. Because we want to be them and they want to be us.’ It’s kind of that kind of thing.