The Toronto Raptors really like where they’re at this season. They’re 49-20, second in the East and just 2.5 games back of the Bucks, and with Kawhi Leonard they feel they have something special heading into the playoffs — not to mention the fact that LeBron James no longer stands in their way.
With that in mind, one of their biggest fans, Drake, has become infamous among sports fans for “The Drake Curse,” in which every team he roots for falls. Recently, Alabama lost after Drake gave them a shout-out, and that’s just the latest in a long string of his bandwagoning backfiring.
The Raptors decided to lean into it, renaming their practice facility — opened in 2016 — after Drake’s record label, OVO. It’s called the OVO Athletic Centre.
Drake is an ambassador for the Raptors, but you’ll see him affiliating with whichever NBA team has the biggest star on it that night. As the Raptors start to think about the playoffs, they’ll obviously be all business, but this just seems like hubris on Toronto’s part. With that being said, Drake has done a lot for the franchise, so it’s not like this is exclusively to spite the basketball powers that be.
“Drake and OVO are an important part of our city’s landscape, our team’s identity, and our plans to bring a championship to Toronto,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “With each step of our partnership over the last five and a half years, we have worked together to build a winning basketball program in Toronto and deliver for our fans and our community. This new naming rights deal for our training facility is a perfect example of the strength of this partnership and the innovative opportunities it can generate.”
Drake also responded to the facility’s new name.
We’ll see if this new name helps Toronto come playoff time. If so, obviously the ploy worked.
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