ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — They started from the bottom, now they’re here: The Toronto Raptors recently announced a partnership with the rapper Drake, proclaiming him the team’s “Global Ambassador.” Exactly what this role entails is isn’t entirely clear, but at the press conference announcing the deal, Drake said he wants to use his star power to help franchise.
“I’m really out here with the people, I’m in touch with what they want to see,” Drake said. “I really just want excitement for this team. I want us to be one of the biggest teams in the league.”
As I see it, Drake’s most important asset he brings to this deal is his star power. Perhaps Drake can use his worldwide celebrity to help raise the international brand profile of the Raptors, and help them gain fans and lure free agents. If it works, great. If not, well, not much lost.
But what about the rest of the NBA? Shouldn’t every team have a “Global Ambassador”? Here are a couple who already exist, informally more than anything:
• Los Angeles Lakers — Jack Nicholson: One of Hollywood’s biggest stars rarely misses a game, sitting along the sideline on Tinseltown.
• New York Knicks — Spike Lee: A lifelong Knicks fan, he sits courtside and doesn’t miss a chance to let opposing players know which side he’s on.
• Brooklyn Nets — Jay-Z: He may no longer own a piece of the team, but as he has said, he’ll still be courtside at the Barclays Center.
• Philadephia 76ers — Will Smith: The Fresh Prince owns a small percentage of his hometown team.
• Memphis Grizzlies — Justin Timberlake: JT apparently has a similar deal in Memphis with his hometown squad.
• Los Angeles Clippers — Billy Crystal: He still counts, right?
Again, these are just off the top of my head. You guys know your teams and cities better than anyone, so drop us an answer down below: Who should be the “Global Ambassador” for your favorite team?