One of the most enjoyable aspects of a home Raptors game is usually checking to see if Drake is in the building. Secondary to that: if Drake isn’t in the building, who are the people in his seats? Is it Future? Is it 40? Is it his mom!?
During his first year as Global Ambassador, Drake populated his court-side seats damn near every home game, but as the years went on, Raptors fans were treated to fewer and fewer sightings, which I suppose comes with the territory of being an immensely popular artist who tours a lot and lives lavishly.
Today however, with the announcement of the “Welcome Toronto” program, it appears as though the partnership between the Raptors and OVO has been renewed. And it looks as though fans will get a flashback to that first season.
Welcome Toronto is touted by Drake as being about “celebrating our team and our city, but also working together to give back to the community and creating a place where the youth of our city can come together to play.”
All digs aside, while Drake may have began his tenure as Global Ambassador as a mere figurehead of popularity, his outreach and influence in the City as well as his monetary pledges promise to continue being a boon to the City of Toronto.
The program will see pledges of $1 million from the Raptors and OVO for the next three years to refurbish and refresh 12 local community basketball courts as well as a pledge of $2 million over the next five years to Canada Basketball. With these donations, Drake believes that the courts could “potentially shape the next generation of Canadian basketball superstars” and he isn’t wrong.
Sporting their new OVO-edition jerseys, the Raptors will also be debuting their new court on January 26th against the Jazz where, one can assume, an enthusiastic Drake will be seen in an immaculate sweater-vest enjoying the fruits of his labour. (OK, last one.)
The official slate of Welcome Toronto OVO games are as follows:
January 26 vs. the Utah Jazz
January 28 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers
February 2 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
March 9 vs. Houston Rockets
March 23 vs. Brooklyn Nets
April 6 vs. Indiana Pacers