The Toronto Raptors are undergoing a culture overhaul with their franchise. They brought in a new GM, Masai Ujiri, whose first order of business was trading Andrea Bargnani, who was an albatross of sorts of the Bryan Colangelo helmed era. Looking to broaden their appeal not only within the city, but worldwide, the Raptors hired hometown rapper Drake to become their "Global Ambassador," much in the same vein of how Jay Z was the face of the Nets as they progressed from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
"I just bought his album. I think he’s amazing. I’m excited to see him doing well. He’s not your ordinary rapper. He brings a lot of things with him: a lot of class, different types of fans and different types of business people.”
– guard D.J. Augustin
– forward Amir Johnson
"He’s had such a big impact on the culture here. He moulds what the culture is in the hip-hop world and very much in the NBA world.”
The Raptors current marquee player, Rudy Gay, who came over in a trade mid-season last year said it's a positive thing to have Drake associated with the team for the fan's sake, but it doesn't affect the team's effort on the court. He also had trouble designating a title to the recording artist and discerning if he was a singer, or a rapper, so he settled on calling him a "sapper."
“I think it’s good for the city and for the fans, but for us, it doesn’t [allow] us to work any less. … It’s a brand. It’s all the same to us. It’s all pop culture – athletes, entertainers. What is he – a singer or a rapper? A sapper?”
You can see how Rudy would be confused by the man who calls himself Champagne Papi's style, as the forward has spent his whole career in Memphis where Three 6 Mafia's DJ Paul posts Instagram pics of semi-automatic weapons to show his support of the Grizzlies, and the unofficial anthem of the team is "Whoop That Trick." This is a drastic change from Drake's emotional yet infectious cross-genre style.