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Raptors to put Sun Life logo on jerseys, DeRozan gets 2K18 cover

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It’s a bold new world in the NBA.

Toronto Raptors v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It’s been hinted at for years but the Raptors are finally making the leap: for the 2017-18 season, the Toronto Raptors will feature a Sun Life patch on the front left shoulder of their game jerseys.

Of course, the Raps are not alone in this endeavour. The NBA, long having realized they were sitting on a sponsorship goldmine, will allow all of their teams to begin putting other business logos on their jerseys next season. It’s part of a three-year pilot program, and it is actually mildly amazing it took as long as it did to happen. (Soccer leagues have been rolling in this kind of dough for decades!)

Anyway, here’s what Lisa Ritchie, Senior Vice-President & Chief Marketing Officer of Sun Life Financial had to say in the official press release:

We’re thrilled to announce this new, first of its kind partnership with the Raptors and MLSE. These are great brands coming together, connecting with fans of the game and encouraging Canadians from coast to coast to live a healthy and active lifestyle. I look forward to the 2017-18 Raptors season when we officially launch this exciting program in support of diabetes and wellness.”

I would be remiss to not add that the Raptors and Sun Life have long been partnered in a program to support diabetes awareness and prevention, so there’s a charitable angle to all of this. If you happen to have a problem with advertisements creeping into every surface imaginable in your modern everyday life, remember: there are worse companies to display.

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In other news, DeMar DeRozan was recently announced as the cover man for the latest (Canadian) version of the popular NBA 2K18 video game. This year’s iteration will be out on September 19th and feature Kyrie Irving on the standard cover, and a classic Shaq photo on the Legend Edition. (No word on yet if we’ll get Cavs or Celtics Shaq on there.)

Friend of the site, the Score’s Joe Casciaro, got the chance to talk with DeRozan about it. What comes across is the Raptors star’s pure delight at having achieved yet another milestone in his career (even one that is sort of superficial).

"I remember being a kid, creating a player in the video game, and being excited just doing that. The next thing was being in the college basketball game, and then the next thing, being in the NBA game. Seeing your face, seeing yourself evolve in the game, and looking even more real, to hearing your voice in the game, to now, being on the cover. It's something that's extremely awesome and definitely mind-blowing."

If you don’t like that, you don’t like NBA basketball.