Toronto Raptors Fans Think Simu Liu Should Replace Drake as the Team's Global Ambassador

Followers are wondering where the 6ix God's support has been for the team's NBA All-Star hopefuls
Toronto Raptors Fans Think Simu Liu Should Replace Drake as the Team's Global Ambassador
Photo (left): @simuliu (Instagram)
Drake was named global ambassador of the Toronto Raptors in 2013, and between all the courtside drama, championship parade appearances, and putting his name (and owl) on the team's practice facility in the years since, the artist has certainly made his mark on the NBA franchise in that role. However, fans of the rapper's hometown team are beginning to think it's time for a change of the guard.

Ahead of the 2022 NBA All-Star Game tipping off next month (February 20), Raptors fans have been critical of Drake's lack of support for the team's stars aiming to make the Eastern Conference team's starting lineup, suggesting that Simu Liu — who has been online making a case for Raptor representation — be appointed global ambassador in his stead.

This year, voting parameters to determine five NBA All-Star starters for Eastern and Western Conference teams are split between fans (50 percent), media (25 percent), and players (25 percent). The fan vote, which opened Christmas Day (December 25), allows viewers to cast their ballots via NBA.com, the NBA App and on Twitter.

This year, the Raptors launched an All-Star campaign behind a trio of guard Fred VanVleet, power forward and 2020 All-Star Pascal Siakam, and small forward OG Anunoby. Since voting began, fans have taken issue with the Certified Lover Boy's social media silence, while also taking note of the newly-minted Marvel hero's celebrity support. For every voting prompt featuring the team's highly meme-able global ambassador, a chorus of replies call for Liu to take his place. For his part, Liu threw the weight of his celebrity behind VanVleet earlier this month, sharing how he felt the undisputed heir to Kyle Lowry's throne was "playing god-tier basketball." While VanVleet was named Eastern Conference player of the week for his efforts, Liu's support was welcomed by the Raptors faithful. As for Drake's whereabouts, it appears he had his focus on an entirely different NBA franchise. Days after Liu's aforementioned vote, footage emerged of the megastar playing Lowry one-on-one at the Miami Heat's FTX Arena. Clearly, the artist would rather get locked up by the Greatest Raptor of All Time (GROAT), than help lock VanVleet into an All-Star starter spot with the aid of his nearly 40 million Twitter followers. It's worth considering that this silence comes out of concern for the infamous Drake Curse, which may or may not have been vanquished on the Raptors' run to the 2019 NBA championship. But it's also important to note that Drake has the names and numbers of two Golden State Warriors tattooed on his body — which he hid during the Raptors' NBA Finals playoff series against that franchise, of course.  

By comparison, Liu has been a bit more open with his Raptors fandom through the years — even going as far as to stump for a James Johnson MVP nod during the 2014-2015 season. To some Toronto fans, those years were dark compared to recent days in post-championship glow, but there's no denying the star of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has enjoyed the highs and lows of Raptors fandom all the while. This week, Liu proclaimed "VANVLEET ON VANFLEEK," in doing his part to send the guard to the 2022 All-Star Game in Cleveland, OH. Even if the title of global ambassador remains with Drake, here's hoping Liu gets a coveted invite to the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Fan voting for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game concludes Saturday, January 22 at 12 a.m. ET. Yesterday's third round of voting returns shows that the Raptors' Siakam sits in seventh position among Eastern Conference frontcourt players, while VanVleet sits seventh among guards. While neither are currently in starting position, both still have pathways to land on this year's Eastern Conference roster.