Toronto cracks me up sometimes. It’s arguably one of the greatest cities in the world. When I say ‘arguably’ I also mean that if that was your argument, you would totally win. Torontonians on the other hand are sometimes just a little too sensitive for my liking. Maybe its just the media, but I don’t think so. When I watch television, and have the opportunity to see famous people being interviewed by the Toronto media, I’m always kind of embarrassed by it. These are usually actors or musicians that are in town on the business of promoting some sort of project that they’re working on. Sometimes it’s athletes playing a game in town. Most media members of course will offer the obligatory questions surrounding whatever they’re plugging, plus any juicy, gossipy relationship questions depending on how interesting they think the answer will be. Finally they HAVE to ask “What do you think of Toronto?” Seems harmless enough, right?
Here’s what I hate about this. Why do we as Torontonians care what anyone thinks of us or our city? Our city is awesome! I know this, and I personally don’t need to hear it from anyone else to know that it’s true. Our media however, has this goofy tendency to constantly ask famous foreigners for affirmation regarding this. An American actor who probably just got into town 2 hours earlier, and has only seen the inside of a Starbucks shouldn’t have to make a whole city feel warm and fuzzy. That’s not his/her job. It’s like we’re unsure of ourselves and our place in the world and we need to know what the rest of the world thinks, when we should really be confident and just KNOW we’re awesome, and not worry about it. The people in this city suffer such insecurity. It’s sad. I once heard an interview with Gene Simmons from KISS who was in town for something, and somebody asked him if he liked (either Toronto or Canada), and you could tell from his reaction that he’d already been asked that about 10 times. This is not a direct quote, but he basically said ‘okay okay, we like you, relax’. I was a bit embarrassed for us when I saw that, but I remember thinking that finally somebody came out and said it. If you are from here and you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch for it next time you see a celebrity being interviewed on TV. They ask every time, it’s uncanny.
So in keeping with that theme, we had an announcement last week that Toronto Rapper ‘Drake’ is joining the Toronto Raptors (NBA Basketball) as a ‘Global Ambassador’………………….(cue tumbleweed)………I’m going to say that again………………Drake is joining the Toronto Raptors as a ‘Global Ambassador’. That’s a job. They gave it to a rapper. In Toronto.
Let me give you some context. The Toronto Raptors are an NBA basketball team. In terms of winning basketball games they are a poor team. In terms of fan interest, and ticket sales, they do quite well. They’re the only team in Canada which helps because they draw their fan base from the whole country. As abysmal as their performance on the basketball court is on a pretty consistent basis, they don’t have any problem selling tickets. Recently, they were awarded the 2016 All-Star Game which means there will be a great party, and it’s great for the city. They have a President who has been doing the job for 6 months, and even though the only real flaw with this franchise is their on-court performance, they have chosen to bring in Drake to fix all of their (non) problems.
Now I like Drake. You could say that at various points in my life, I have been a rabid Hip-Hop fan, and while now wouldn’t be one of those points, Drake is one of my favourites (spelled the Canadian way this time). He’s a good Rapper, and believe it or not, I’m a guy that would know the difference. As far as his credentials to “help reinvigorate the fortunes of a stagnant franchise” (quote courtesy of the Globe and Mail)…… I just don’t see it. Unless of course you want to go with the precedent of Jay-Z joining the New Jersey Nets (as an owner, not a Global Ambassador….. meaning he had to pay). The Nets were awful, and have since moved to Brooklyn, and become mediocre.
Here’s what I think is happening. Toronto has once again sold itself short. Here we are, hosting the NBA All-Star Game in a couple of years, selling all kinds of tickets to games even though we aren’t that good (and that isn’t easy), and just being awesome in general terms….. but we think that somebody famous is going to come in and ‘turn it all around’. Turn what around??? Do you think that people won’t come to the All-Star Game if Drake isn’t an employee of the Raptors? Everyone goes to the NBA All Star Game, including Drake, no matter where it is! What’s he gonna do?? Mention the Raptors in his Rap lyrics?? Is he going to wear a Raptors Jersey at his shows?? Are you suggesting that the Raptors marketing staff that are (hopefully) loaded with sports marketing professionals, know less about marketing a sports team than a Rapper?
Or is Drake just good at fixing things??? If so, can we get him to end the American Government shutdown?? Maybe he can go to the Middle East and resolve all the conflicts. Maybe he can negotiate the release of all the hostages being held around the world. Maybe he could visit the Anne Frank house, and piss in a mop bucket to take some of the heat off Justin Beiber. Here’s the best part…. Who can we blame if it doesn’t all go down like it should?? Can we actually blame Drake if he does a bad job as our Global Ambassador??
I have 3 messages regarding this
1. Toronto…. you are awesome, you don’t suck….. why do you care what famous people think about you?? Stop seeking approval. You’re like a teenager. Grow up.
2. Toronto Raptors…… you do suck…… have you ever asked yourself why the Boston Celtics have the same uniform that they’ve been wearing for the last 50 years?? For 50 years, they’ve played basketball…. and played it well…. they have a tradition of winning basketball games. All the publicity stunts, jersey/colour changes, Rappers and Global Ambassadors can’t make up for winning basketball games. Stop embarrassing yourselves.
3. Drake….. This actually isn’t your mess, I would totally take that job too. I hope you can Rap us all the way to an NBA championship!