There’s so many ways to look at this. You can look to the NBA draft for the great additions of Demar DeRozan in 2009 and Jonas Valanciunas in 2011. You could say the Eastern Conference in which the Toronto Raptors reside in is so poor in playoff contending teams. You could also say that Toronto is just finally finding it’s stride with fourth year head coach Dwane Casey. All of these options would be true in my opinion. Add in a high-volume scoring point guard in Kyle Lowry, who was a 2015 NBA All-Star game selection. Acquire veteran forwards Luis Scola and DeMarre Carroll via free agency, now you have yourself a great starting line up.
But sometimes, even with talent and a great coach, you still need an extra push. Maybe a swagger about you or even a toughness. Some teams have all of that. It’s instilled in the culture and the history of your team. The New York Knicks of the 90’s were intimidating and tough. The San Antonio Spurs kill you with their chemistry as a team. So what does this Toronto Raptors team have? It doesn’t have a history, when I think of the Raptors back in the day I just think of Vince Carter’s prime years. So what do you do when you don’t have a history? Or you don’t have a culture? You create one. This is where Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham came into play for the Toronto Raptors.
Hailing from Toronto, Canada, With a huge influence in today’s society not only with the youth but with the world in general, Drake became the Raptor’s Global Ambassador. Rappers can have a lot of influence in the sports world believe it or not. So as Drake started to represent the Raptors hard, whether it was showing up court-side at games, mentioning the team in his songs, or even having his own designated game night every month called “Drake Night”. Where fans get to experience a half-time concert featuring Drake and other artists signed to his OVO music record label. All of this is building attention, a proudness and swagger in their step as a team, all to establish a winning culture.
This winning culture is blossoming early on in the 2015-16 NBA season as the Toronto Raptors are currently undefeated at 5-0 after their win against the OKC Thunder last night. This start to the season is the best I can remember from this franchise since I’ve been alive. When Drake took this position I thought it would just be a publicity stunt or just a short term thing but really it just made me realize that he’s trying to accomplish the exact thing we’re trying to accomplish here at PFK. Establishing a sports culture where there isn’t one. Drake has done a great job as the Raptors will host the 2016 NBA All-Star game in his hometown of Toronto or what he calls the 6!
We’ll see what else the Toronto Raptors have in store this season. Enjoy their next nationally televised game against the Golden State Warriors on November 17th. Until then…
You do what you want when you poppin’!
Credits: Complex Mag, Washington Post, and Kicksonfire.com (For the Photos).
– Terrence Whaley