ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Toronto Raptors often invoke their franchise ambassador Drake, who sits courtside at many games. But during Game 1 of their first round series against the Indiana Pacers, the Raptors mascot paid tribute to a different Canadian pop star: Justin Bieber…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A lot of people like having Drake singing in their ears. But for the Bulls last night in Toronto, with the game on the line, Drake being in Justin Holiday‘s ear didn’t work out so well. Check the video below, as Drake clearly says something to Holiday to help Toronto’s cause. But at the end of the day, the Bulls got the final word, winning 109-107.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Anyone can use social media to nominate their favorite player for the NBA All-Star Game, as we saw last season when Drake helped lead an online push to get Kyle Lowry into the All-Star starting five. This year, the Pistons are using the combined star power of Drake and President Barack Obama to try and raise awareness for Andre Drummond‘s All-Star status. Today the Pistons released the following video onto social media, featuring President Obama “rapping” to Drake and Future’s “Jumpman,” with lyrics specifically tailored to Drummond. Got all that?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night, the Toronto Raptors celebrated Drake Night, an annual event where the evening is more or less hosted by Drake, the best-selling artist who also serves as the Raptors’ “global ambassador.” Besides wearing Drake-inspired uniforms and having him courtside all night, the Raptors turned over the pregame introductions to Drake…
And just when we we thought we were all done with uniform posts, the Toronto Raptors go and pull us back in again.
The team initially debuted news and photos of the new uniforms in a post on their web site and per the news release, team ambassador Drake unveiled the unis at OVOFest in Toronto:
Raptors Global Ambassador Drake unveiled a Cory Joseph alternate black jersey with gold and white trim during his OVOFest concert tonight at Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. Joseph, a native of the Toronto area who joined the club as a free agent in July, will wear number six to honour his Toronto roots
Anyway, here’s a look at all the uni options in their full glory …
The Toronto Raptors’ new uniforms for 2015-16.
As well as a photo of Drake unveiling them on stage …
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night in Toronto, the Raptors hosted their second-annual Drake Night. This is a night where the popular hip-hop star, who is officially the team’s “global ambassador,” takes over the game operations for an evening. And last night this meant Drake took over the pregame introductions for the P.A. announcer. Drake is probably the only person who could get away with announcing Amir Johnson by saying, “He recently got a tattoo of a Swiffer Wet Jet.”
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night in Brooklyn, the Raptors beat the Nets to tie their first round series at two wins apiece. After the game, Toronto’s “global ambassador,” Drake, took to Instagram to post a message for Brooklyn big man Kevin Garnett. As Drake wrote in the caption, “Mad…or nah? See you back at the crib”
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night’s Raptors/Nets game was big for Toronto, where the Raptors won their first playoff game since 2008 to even the series against Brooklyn at 1-1. But the moment of the game that won the internet happened off the court. Like, literally just inches from the court.
Sitting courtside at the game was Toronto’s “global ambassador,” music superstar Drake. Part of being a celebrity is looking as great as you can at all times, of course, because at one point during the first quarter last night, cameras caught Drake in the background as he vigorously wiped his pants clean with a lint roller.
Started from the bottom now he’s here…right around the knee area…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Toronto Raptors have been utilizing their newly formalized relationship with hip-hop star Drake in various ways, but over the weekend they had their very first “Drake Night.” This meant things like Drake taking over the team’s Instagram account so he could show off the custom old-school Raptors suit lining on his jacket…
But perhaps my favorite aspect of Drake Night was when Drake introduced the Raptors on the public address system. How often do you hear a PA guy refer to a player as “a good friend of mine?” (Then again, Drake has good reason to be friendly to Amir Johnson.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Toronto Raptors seem to be in the midst of a massive reboot. A few months ago, longtime sports executive Tim Lieweke was brought in to run their parent organization, MLSE. They lured former Denver Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri in to run their basketball operations, and even inked hip-hop artist Drake to serve as something of a nebulous “global ambassador.”
These are all (mostly) big moves designed to change the fabric of the organization, but these are all also mostly behind-the-scenes changes. How to you make a change that people (fans) will notice? You do it a bit more obviously. To that end, Toronto Star writer Doug Smith reports that the Raptors are considering changing their team colors. (I guess that’s “colours” for you Canadians.) As Smith writes…
You know how they are working on the “re-branding” of everything to do with the HOTH, right? Maybe new colours, maybe a new logo, maybe all kinds of things different for the 2015-16 season.
Well, how about this:
Black and gold.
Now, I’m not suggesting it’s a done deal and a lot of different people and companies are coming up with a lot of different looks and styles but I was told on the weekend that black and gold is definitely something being considered.
Good? Bad? Indifferent?
My immediate reaction was, as the kids say, “meh” because it’s not a colour scheme that makes me sit up and take notice and because I don’t really see anything wrong with the way things are right now.
And I would suggest that if one of Tim Leiweke’s great plans is to have the Raptors become “Canada’s team” that going away from red and white doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
But black and gold are cliché and they are in vogue and they a radical change from the, let’s see, purple, red, white, black, camouflage, blue and I’m sure there are others that we’ve been subjected to over the years.
Perhaps it’s also worth noting that black and gold seem to be the colors of Drake’s OVO Sound record label.
Regardless, as Smith points out, if the Raptors don’t start winning games whatever they wear won’t matter that much.
What do you think? Should the Raptors switch their franchise colors to black and gold?