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Can Drake reinvent the Toronto Raptors à la Jay-Z?

by Jana Banin, JTA

October 1, 2013 | 10:32 am

From left: Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri, rapper Drake and President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Tim Leiwekea after an announcement that the Toronto Raptors will host the NBA All-Star game in Toronto on Sept. 30. Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters

From left: Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri, rapper Drake and President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Tim Leiwekea after an announcement that the Toronto Raptors will host the NBA All-Star game in Toronto on Sept. 30. Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters

The Toronto Raptors are gearing up for a makeover from none other than Drake, the city’s very own Jewish rap sensation.

We know, you’re probably wondering if it’s even possible to infuse cool into a losing team with a tougher, redder Barney for a mascot. But according to the Toronto Star, the execs behind it all are modeling the re-branding on another very successful rapper-basketball joint venture: Jay-Z and the Brooklyn Nets.

“Hip hop’s cool uncle took an (incredibly tiny) ownership position in exchange for polishing the shield,” the Toronto Star says of Jay-Z. “He didn’t have to do much. Switch from Yankees to Nets ball-caps. Show up to a few games. Whisper in the ears of a few guys who grew up on The Blueprint.  The result is an almost instant contender, the sort of marquee brand future hall of famers want to be associated with.”

Now it’s Drake’s turn. In addition to hosting the 2016 NBA All-Star game, the self-described “Raptors fan to the death,” will launch a team-based clothing line and consult on the redesign of the their image for the 20th anniversary of the franchise in the 2014-2015 season.

The hope is that Toronto will soon become a city NBA players are willing to go to. And that Drake does something with that dinosaur.

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