Today (Mar. 14), the Toronto Raptors announced the renaming of their training facility that’s in partnership with Toronto rapper Drake, who has been the Raptors’ Global Ambassador for over five years.
The Toronto Raptors Training Centre will now be called the OVO Athletic Centre, which coincides with the rapper’s OVO imprint, according to the NBA.
“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,” said Raptors President Masai Ujiri.
“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.”
Today, Drake shared an outdoor photo of the facility on Instagram with his OVO logo on the building and flag that stands outside of it. He wrote, “Introducing the OVO Athletic Centre, the official training facility for the Toronto Raptors. just wanted to add that I am so proud of my brothers and so proud to be from this city I swear this one feels like a high school dream and it’s a blessing to be able to raise up the levels and make the human mind stretch when it comes to thinking about what is possible in your lifetime!! Much love to everyone involved.”
In September 2013, the Raptors and the “God’s Plan” rapper originally announced Drake’s role as team Global Ambassador. The rapper and former actor (Degrassi) helped curate All-Star Weekend planning and he assisted with rebranding the team, which included the launch of the ‘We The North’ campaign, an annual ‘Drake Night’ and an OVO-inspired alternate uniform for Raptors’ players.
At the top of last year, Drizzy and the Raptors announced several ‘Welcome Toronto’ and OVO-themed home games where the Raptors wore their OVO-edition uniforms. Drake and the Raptors donated $1million to refurbish local Toronto basketball courts and another $2million to Canada Basketball through the ‘Welcome Toronto’ program.
“OVO is excited to expand our partnership with the Toronto Raptors,” said Drake’s manager and OVO co-founder, Oliver El-Khatib. “Sports are central to the culture of OVO and have the great quality of connecting people from all walks of life. This facility represents our commitment to invest in the future of sports and young athletes in Toronto.”
Glennisha Morgan is a Detroit-bred multimedia journalist and writer. She writes about intersectionality, hip-hop, pop culture, queer issues, race, feminism, and her truth. Follow her on Twitter @GlennishaMorgan