Started from the bottom now we here


The Toronto Raptors haven’t seen “glory days” since Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter donned the jersey with the dinosaur. The dynamic duo led the franchise to its first ever playoff appearance, yet shortly after, they took their talents elsewhere.

Chris Bosh roared his way onto the squad in 2004. He stuck around for two consecutive first-round playoff outs in 2007 and 2008. Then, Bosh left too.

The Toronto Raptors have recorded five total playoff appearances in their history. To put that in perspective, the Lakers boast 60. The NBA gods have frowned upon Canada for a long time, but now there seems to be a glimmer of hope.

Toronto Raptors make Drake 'global ambassador'

Drizzy Drake is the team’s global ambassador. What does that mean? No one knows exactly, but since being appointed the title, the news has gone viral. He put on a suit, rocked a fresh cut and rolled out a promo video. In it he says that “everyone is dying to support Toronto.”

While I’m not sure if that implies everyone wants to root for Toronto, or everyone wants to support Toronto because Drake does, the team roster isn’t too shabby this year.

They have potential with Rudy Gay, Landry Fields, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Steve Novak among others. The season has barely started and they put up a fight against the Miami Heat — I’ll give them that.

The Raptors aren’t anywhere near the lowly level of the Charlotte Bobcats. With the boost from Drake and fans filling seats, maybe, just maybe, the team could pull off a wild “Warriors, We Believe”-type season run.

The good thing is that no one really hates them. Fans hate the Heat, they hate the Lakers, they hate the Spurs, but no one hates on the underdogs. If the Raptors dig deep and go on a winning streak, I truly believe America will stand behind them (even if they are in Canada).

To amp up the media coverage, personally I’d recommend that the retro jerseys with the actual Raptor on the front be brought back into rotation.

When Jay Z designed Brooklyn, he pushed them into a simple and clean, black and white image. In my humble opinion, I say Drake should go the opposite route — loud, bright and in-your-face — with Raptors everywhere.

Regardless of what direction Drake leads the team’s image, I predict that by the end of this season, no one will take the Raptors lightly. I’m saying that they’ll become as much of a threat as the Blazers or the Pelicans. At any moment, their record might be slipping, but if you overlook them, they’ll double cross you.

The Raptors promo video gave me the chills, and it caused me to develop a small inkling of faith for the fans in Toronto. Within the next few seasons, will the Raptors chant, “started from the bottom now we here,” or will Drake be fed up, say something and leave like all the rest?

As published in the Pepperdine student-publication, the Graphic.

Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada


“I go to Barneys; I go to Gucci, Louis, YSL. I go everywhere — Rodeo Drive, Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs, Joyrich. I’m all around,” Russel Westbrook said to Steve Marsh of GQ in April 2013.

Once upon a time the likes of Allen Iverson sauntered out of NBA stadiums in sagging jeans, an oversized shirt and dripping in bling. Then 2005 happened. David Stern couldn’t have his players relaying a bad League image so he smacked down a dress code.

At first, people retaliated and argued Stern was a big fat racist. Suddenly, some point following the outrage after everyone cooled down, a switch flipped.

Now Google “GQ, NBA” and look who pops up —Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Russel Westbrook, Chris Paul, Jeremy Lin — in three-piece suits with tie clips pictured next to teasers such as “Style Playbook” and “How to Dress Like a Pro.”

NBA commentary has elevated above the fashion talk of game shoes. The Jordan XX8s (the funky $250 ones with the eight-inch collar) were talked about, but talk of Westbrook’s leather button-ups and skin-tight capris circulated the web equally as quickly.

I remember reading tweets during the 2013 finals scrutinizing Tim Duncan for looking like he shopped at Sam’s Club (ouch). However, Tim was fine as he continued posting up double-doubles as if he wasn’t approaching his 40s.

Meanwhile, there was also DRose injured on the bench, and people cracking jokes about how he was finally deciding to “suit” up — in a Gucci suit.

At the end of the day, the ball don’t lie. Video game statistics are what will enshrine players in the coveted hall of fame, not sock games or bow tie games.

But if you have a few million to spare, why not put some effort into a creative designer outfit? Maybe it’ll help earn you a spot on Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports team.

At the very least, dressing well has the potential to lead to a solid source of revenue to upkeep a lavish post-career lifestyle.

Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Jermaine O’Neal represent a few of the NBA stars with clothing lines. Boris Diaw went a step further in developing a line with the goal of raising money for charity.

Maybe these guys are on to something, or maybe they just want to look good while playing the sport they love, either reasoning won’t make the games or the post-game press conferences any less fun to watch.

I wouldn’t be surprised if people soon begin accepting Craig Sager’s sideline reporting attire as the norm and start ostracizing Charles Barkley’s no-tie persona.

As published in the Pepperdine University student publication, the Graphic.