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Drake: You only live once, might as well promote the Raptors. (AP)
Drake: You only live once, might as well promote the Raptors. (AP)

Basketball

Raptors sign rap star Drake to add flash, promote all-star game Add to ...

When Tim Leiweke arrived as the new chief executive of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment he promised to make moves that would drastically raise the profile of the city’s professional hockey, soccer and basketball teams.

In the case of the Toronto Raptors, that new profile is to include Drake, the hugely popular Canadian rap star who has agreed to become a consultant with the struggling NBA team.

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The Raptors will formally provide details of the new business arrangement Monday morning at a news conference at the Air Canada Centre where the club will formally announce it has been chosen as the host of the 2016 NBA all-star game.

It will be a star-studded news conference to be attended by Drake, the Toronto-born musician who is about as big as it gets internationally these days in the rap-music business.

Drake is also a huge basketball fan and a frequent courtside spectator at Raptors home games and was recently described by fellow rapper Jay-Z as the Kobe Bryant of the hip-hop set.

So perhaps it should not come as a huge shock for Leiweke to engage the services of the 26-year-old musician in an effort to help rebrand the fading image of an NBA club that has dulled considerably since the salad days of Vince Carter.

Five consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance has also not helped the plight of the team.

Drake’s exact duties with the basketball club have not yet been revealed but the press release issued by MLSE early Sunday evening said Drake will be introduced on Monday as the team’s new “global ambassador.”

What that exactly entails is not yet known although one Toronto report said that Drake will be launching a new clothing line in conjunction with his new position.

According to the report, Drake will also be a key figure in the team’s planned image makeover that will coincide with the Raptors 20th anniversary season in 2014-15.

There will be plenty of high-powered officials on hand to welcome Drake on his new endeavour, including Adam Silver, the NBA’s deputy commissioner, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

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