TORONTO – Drake got some advice from one of the best sources possible before coaching the Canadian team at Friday’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.
“Michael Jordan talked to me earlier today,” the Toronto rapper told after Drake’s team won 74-64 over the Americans at the Ricoh Coliseum.
“He told me to go out there, told me what plays to avoid running, told me: ‘If you want the champagne and cigars, you gotta win.”‘
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“I had a great sit-down with Mike,” added the Started from the Bottom hip-hop superstar, who referenced the NBA legend in the song “Jumpman,” a collaboration with Future.
“I mean, Mike’s like a mentor and a great friend to me, so that’s always a highlight. We played ping pong today and I won – a lot.”
Such a meeting was bound to happen during the weekend’s all-star festivities, where Drake was to add what the NBA called “his own special touch” to the player introductions for Sunday’s game.
After all, Jordan is considered one of the best NBA players of all time, and Drake (whose real name is Aubrey Graham) is undoubtedly at the top of his game these days.
The former Degrassi: The Next Generation star has had a stellar year, becoming the most streamed artist of 2015 globally and reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with dancing delight Hotline Bling, which became an Internet sensation with countless memes and parodies.
He also nabbed five Grammy Award nominations, including best rap album for If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, a surprise release that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Drizzy further cemented his status as one of Toronto’s most famous exports when he received the key to the city from Mayor John Tory.
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His presence is also felt around “The 6”: He’s the global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, he has his OVO (October’s Very Own) festival and clothing line/record label, and cryptic billboards promoting his upcoming album Views From the 6 loom over the city in many spots.
Drake wouldn’t reveal much about the album, due out in April, only saying: “We’ve got an amazing campaign going on in this city, just trying to get everybody excited.”
“It’s a body of work that I’m extremely proud of and I just can’t wait to give it to the city – to the world, but mostly to the city, because I made it for everybody from here. So I’m excited for them to hear it.”
Drake is also excited to help Toronto’s youth, now that he has the key to the city.
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He said he met with Tory – or “JT,” as he likes to call him – the other day to talk about possible initiatives to put in place “to encourage kids just to make the most of whatever situation they’re in.”
“I’m 29 years old and I think I’m in a position to still be able to speak to the youth in our city, let them know to be proud of what we have, to avoid bringing harm to one another, to avoid just being out here without a purpose, maybe,” said Drake.
“I want to try and encourage these kids to make the most of their days in the city, because it’s a blessing to be here and nowhere else.”