Drake’s influence goes deeper than just music

He started from the bottom now he’s here, he became a cultural icon in his 20’s, he goes by many nicknames such as the 6 God, Champagne Papi, Wheelchair Jimmy, and Drizzy, but worldwide he is known as Drake.

Born Aubrey Drake Graham in 1986, Drake joined the cast of MTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation when he was in high school and went on to become one of the biggest hip-hop/rap artists in the world.  He’s also become the global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors and is influencing a whole new generation of basketball fans.

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Drake announcing the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend at a press conference last year. Photo: Frank Gunn/CP

Drake super fan Jamie Genat, 22, said that he started watching the Toronto Raptors when Drake brought the team global exposure.

“I wasn’t a fan of the Toronto Raptors because one, I didn’t like basketball, and two, they weren’t all that great when I was growing up for me to watch their games,” Genat said.

However, it all turned around for Genat when Drake was named the global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors back in September 2013.

“That was the turning point for me in becoming a fan of the Raptors,” he said. “I went out to watch the first ever ‘Drake Night’ three years ago, and it was a great experience.”

Genat said that at the time he was starting to watch the Raptors, he managed to see many close-game wins, which got him excited to watch the Raptors play. Ever since then, he has been going to the games as well as buying team merchandise.

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Genat and his friends join other Raptor fans for a group photo at Jurassic Park during the Raptors-Heat playoff series. Photo: Dominic Pena/Twitter via @JGenat

On the other hand, Romar Mahabier has always been a Raptors fan, but wasn’t a Drake fan in the beginning.

“Since I’m 28 years old, I don’t pay attention to the new artists,” Mahabier said. “I am an old-school guy, you know guys like Biggy, Pac, Nas, Dre, Cube, Snoop, the list goes on.”

Mahabier grew up watching the Toronto Raptors when they were first established back in 1995. He went to the games, supported the team, and even had his room decked out in the retro purple and red look.

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Genat and Mahabier take in last season’s Game 7 between the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat at Maple Leaf Square, known as Jurassic Park during the Raptors’ playoff run. Photo: Dominic Pena/Twitter via @JGenat

When Drake came along and became the ambassador of the Raptors, Mahabier didn’t think too much of it until he went to a game.

“While the announcer was introducing the starting lineup for the Raptors, they had Drake’s “Trophies” playing,” he said. “I didn’t know that song until I asked my buddy what it was.”

Mahabier said after the game, he went home and started to listen to some of Drake’s songs.

As an old-school guy, Mahabier wasn’t all that into new-school music until he closely listened to Drake’s flow and got hooked.

“I’m not going to lie, he has a vibe that can get anyone hooked,” he said. “I guess you can say I am a fan.”

It’s amazing to see how much of an influence one person can have. In this case, Drake influenced Genat to not only become interested in the sport of basketball but also to become a fan of the Toronto Raptors. As for Mahabier, the Toronto Raptors influenced him to give something new a chance and listen to Drake.

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