Raptors
Drake and the Raptors’ new initiative is geared toward growing basketball in Toronto and all of Canada. (Frank Gunn/ The Canadian Press)

Rapper and Raptors ambassador, Drake will partner with the NBA team to help grow and build basketball in the city of Toronto. Drake’s record Label OVO and Toronto have pledged $3 million to make the sport more accessible to the youth in Toronto who are interested.

The Raptors announced the new partnership in a press release.

The partnership will see the team host a total of six ‘Welcome Toronto’ and OVO-themed home games this season, where the Raptors will wear their new OVO-edition uniforms and debut a new black and gold home court beginning with games on Friday, January 26 against the Utah Jazz and Sunday, January 28 against the L.A. Lakers. The Welcome Toronto program will also see Drake and the Raptors donate $1 million to refurbish local community basketball courts and another $2 million to Canada Basketball.

Masai Ujiri, the team president, in a team statement, said he and Drake are doing something “very special” for the Toronto community.

“Over the past four years, the Raptors’ relationship with Drake has always ultimately been about celebrating this city and the people that make it unique,” said Ujiri. “We have something very special happening in Toronto and Drake is a big part of that. We’re looking forward to this opportunity to continue working together to inspire and support young people, to showcase this great city around the world and to grow the game of basketball.”

Toronto unveiled their OVO-edition Nike Jerseys earlier this week. The Jerseys are an extension of the partnership between Drake and the Raptors that begun in 2014.

“As this team and Toronto continues to grow, we have seen how much we can do together,” said Drake. “Welcome Toronto is about celebrating our team and our city, but also working together to give back to the community and creating a place where the youth of our city can come together to play. These same courts could also potentially shape the next generation of Canadian basketball superstars.”

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