Drake’s role as an ambassador for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which includes the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, the NHL’s Maple Leafs and the MLS’ Toronto FC, has been seen as an influential one. This was particularly discussed when Jermain Defoe signed on as a member of Toronto FC. Drake recently spoke about his role in the soccer player’s move to Toronto.  

“I don’t know if I had an influence on him coming here,” Drake said in an interview with Toronto Sun. “I think that all I did was give him the necessary information about a city he didn’t know much about. I told him how great it’s been to me, and how great I assumed it would be to him. We had a great conversation. We built up a personal relationship. I’m excited to see him begin his career here. I just do what I can. [Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president Tim Leiweke] is the boss. It’s all Tim, really. I was just a piece of the puzzle, I guess.” 

Drake’s role as an ambassador for the Toronto Raptors was on display as the National Basketball Association team hosted “Drake Night” at its January 11 match against the Brooklyn Nets. Drake participated in the game’s festivities in a number of ways. The rapper co-hosted the halftime festivities, spoke during the pre-game show and introduced the Raptors’ starting line-up.

At a Raptors press conference, Drake spoke about his goal for “Drake Night’s” impact. 

“I think tonight, you’re gonna see a city come together,” Drake said. “I want this to be an intimidating building to come to. And I want to be intimidating not because we’re negative or overly-aggressive, just because…this is the best city in the world, and one of the best buildings in the world. I want this to be a place that every team fears going to because of how much of a tight-knit family Toronto really is.”

A video of the emcee’s player introductions can be found below. 

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