DeMar DeRozan And DJ Augustin Weigh In On Drake’s New Role With The Toronto Raptors

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Finally, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and Drake linked up for what could be a beautiful business relationship. Drizzy will solidify his ties to his beloved hometown, becoming the Raptors’ official Global Ambassador and consultant as the team prepares to rebrand for its 2014-15 season. It’s been a long time since the glory days of Mr. Half Man, Half Amazing—also known as the Vince Carter era—where the head honcho led the team to multiple playoff appearances. Since his departure, the franchise has seen some dark times, falling into NBA obscurity. But the future is bright, as Mr OVO will help in not only the image but the direction of the franchise. The Raptors are already getting a new logo and new colors, and Drake will help create a clothing line with the team. All of this leads in to the 2016 All-Star Game, which will be hosted in Toronto. So XXL reached out to Raptors DJ Augustin and DeMar DeRozan on their feelings about their new Global Ambassador and the future of The Raptors. Nothing will be the same. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)

XXL: How do you feel about Drake being named Global Ambassador for The Raptors?
DeMar DeRozan: 
Me personally, I definitely think it’s a dope situation with Drake being one of the best in the game, arguably, at what he does. Especially in Toronto and the country of Canada, there’s no better person you can put in the position.

What were your initial thoughts?
I was happy for him. He’s a good friend of mine, and I thought it was dope. You can tell by his music that he’s passionate about the city of Toronto. Just having a team that he can back, and with me being a part of the team, I think it’s a dope situation for him. I’ve known him since I first [got] here, about four, five years now.

When you got the word, how did y’all celebrate?
I saw him that morning, and I talked to him for a minute. He was in our arena doing the press conference, and I talked to him just to congratulate him. He had a couple of ideas planned. It was a cool little thing.

What do you think he’ll bring to the table?
He definitely is an intelligent person. He knows sports, he knows how to market, everything. I think he’s going to bring that to the table and really try to push us, get us further out there and known. Since we are the only team that plays in Canada, there’s a lot of opportunity for us that he brings to the table.

Do you listen to Drake?
Oh yeah, most definitely. Since he’s been out he’s been one of my favorite artists in the game. [Nothing Was The Same] was a great album, one of the albums that definitely lean on you for a long time. He’s just good music at the end of the day. “Worst Behaviour” is my favorite track.

What do you guys listen to in the locker room?
Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Kanye.

Where do you see the Raptors in the future?
We just are trying to take this next step. You can start with us; we’re the players out the gate. It’s a lot of us. Since I’ve been here, about five years, there is only one other player left that was here five years ago. With the new group of guys coming in—Kyle Lowery, Rudy Gay—we got a lot of big-name players. All we’ve got to do is handle our business on the court and everything else will fall in line. You see we have the All-Star Game here. There are just so many more opportunities coming up here that can make the image bigger. A lot of great new steps. Management for the team and the whole company are definitely taking that next step and getting bigger. We’re just trying to do whatever we can to be that marquee team in the league.

XXL: What did you think about Drake being named global ambassador for the Raptors?
DJ Augustin: 
It was exciting. To have a guy like that be a part of the organization, it’s big for the city of Toronto and for the team. Drake is a brand of his own, he’s a classy guy, and he’s not just a rap artist. I think he brings different types of fans and more people to watch out for Toronto.

What were your initial thoughts?
I was kind of shocked, I didn’t expect it. I know he’s a big basketball fan. I saw him when I played in New York a couple times and in Miami a couple times. Good for him to take the time out and do that. It’s going to take a lot of his time to be a part of that; it’s big time of an artist.

What does Drake bring to the table?
Different type of fans, new ideas, creative ideas. If you look at his songs and his albums, they are very creative, so I know he’s going to bring a lot of creativity to the organization and to our team.

You just got signed to Toronto. How’s the city treating you?
Oh it’s pretty great. We like it; my family, my wife and my daughters here with me. It’s a great city, lots of things to do. I’m just really focused right now—we all are—on trying to get some wins.

Do you listen to Drake?
Yeah, I listen to him a lot. I’m a big Cash Money fan, and I’m from New Orleans so I know Mack Maine really well. We’re really good friends. Ever since he [Drake] has been with Cash Money, I’ve been a real fan. His new album is great. He’s really creative. On his album, I really like “Too Much,” “The Language”—I mean the whole thing. The whole CD, you can just let it play from top to bottom.

What do you listen to in the locker room?
We listen to a lot of different stuff. We have guys from all over; some guys listen to music where they are from. We listen to a variety of music. I may go back and listen to some old stuff. But probably what’s hot right now I listen to before a game.

Where do you see the Raptors in the future?
As a great basketball team. We’re tired of people laughing at us and thinking we’re not good. Thinking that we’re from Toronto, Canada, we shouldn’t be a part of the NBA. We’re a big part of the NBA, and we’re going to surprise a lot of teams. I think we have a great chance of making the playoffs. We have anything you need to get to that stage, and once you get to that stage, anything can happen. We’re just working hard. We got a hard-working group of guys. Everybody’s unselfish, and we want to win.