Drake may have courtside seats, but the rapper does not have an ownership stake in the Toronto Raptors. What is Drake’s role with the Raptors? Drake’s technical title is a Community Ambassador, causing many fans to wonder what exactly this entails. It is a win-win for both parties as it gives Drake even more exposure, and helps add a cool factor to the Raptors franchise.
While he is far from making roster decisions for the team, Drake’s role is real and the Raptors were even fined in 2014 for the rapper publicly commenting on Kevin Durant’s free agency. Drake’s Raptors fandom comes from growing up in Toronto. According to Yahoo, Drake grew up in the Forest Hill neighborhood of Toronto, Canada.
“I grew up with a mom who was deep in debt because she wanted best for family,” Drake told Ghomeshi.
In Forest Hill, he found being “biracial” was more of a concern than it was when he lived in the poorer section of Weston Road. “It was actually girls gave me a harder time than guys,” he said.
However, he admitted that later on in his career, being a black Jewish rapper wasn’t something he had to overcome in Toronto. “I’m from a place that is true mosaic,” Drake said. “To me, we’re the most open-minded place you can find yourself.”
What Is a Community Ambassador?
Drake’s job description with the Raptors as a Community Ambassador is not clearly defined, and he is not believed to be on the team’s payroll, per Pitchfork. The Raptors announced his Community Ambassador title in 2013 and there was a 2018 news conference announcing an expanded partnership. Drake’s record label, OVO Sound, has naming rights for the team’s practice facility and even had its logo on t-shirts distributed to fans attending Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Drake’s antics during games have created quite a controversy. Members of the Bucks coaching staff publicly complained, and even NBA commissioner Adam Silver has chimed in essentially asking the rapper to tone it down a bit.
“We appreciate how big a fan he is, and I know the Raptors do,” Silver said, per NBA.com. “He has the official designation ‘ambassador’ … and he’s a global star, so it’s a huge deal that he’s so engaged with the team and loves the NBA so much. Obviously, there’s some lines that even ambassadors shouldn’t cross.”
Raptors President Masai Ujiri Called Drake the “King of Toronto”
When the team announced its expanded partnership with Drake, Raptors president Masai called the rapper the “King of Toronto.” Drake has helped the team with theme nights and even their OVO inspired black and gold jerseys.
“We can’t do it any better than The King of Toronto,” Ujiri noted, per NBA.com. “To have somebody special like this for us I think is huge. We appreciate all the support, all the support from the fans. We have to make Toronto – we have to – we have to make Toronto the best atmosphere in the NBA. And it’s becoming the best atmosphere in the NBA. I can’t wait to go to every single Raptors game, and we’re damn proud of it.”