Raptors’ ambassador Drake to receive key to the city Friday

Drake cheers from courtside seats at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. (Chris Young/CP)

TORONTO — It appears the Drizzy-Tory story will be a long one.

Toronto Mayor John Tory says his plans to give hometown rap star Drake, a.k.a. Drizzy, the key to the city on Friday is just the start of a long working relationship between the two.

"He is devoted to the city, he loves this city, he promotes this city and he and I have chatted and he wants to help this city, help some of the kids that need a bit of inspiration," Tory told The Canadian Press on Thursday evening.

"And I’m looking forward to working with him in the years to come to do just that — to make sure that he can use his celebrity to help inspire and give some self-confidence and self-esteem to kids that are struggling a little bit in this city. There are quite a few of those and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore."

Tory took to his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon to announce his plans to give the honour to Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Graham, noting: "This is a man who has achieved wild success, by any standard."

And indeed, the 29-year-old former "Degrassi: The Next Generation" star is the talk of the town as he gets set to coach Canada’s team at Friday’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

The city is plastered with billboards promoting Drake’s upcoming album, "Views From the 6," due out in April.

He’s also expected to show up at various events as the global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors.

Not to mention he’s up for five Grammy Awards on Monday, including best rap album for "If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late."

"The first question people ask you when you say, ‘Hey, I coach in Toronto,’ is, ‘Have you met Drake?"’ Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Thursday night on the red carpet for a sneak preview of team president and GM Masai Ujiri’s documentary "Giants of Africa."

"So he represents the city, our organization, the country of Canada in a great way. He’s cool, he’s good-looking, he’s got everything going for him.

"But most of all, he’s a great basketball fan, he’s a Raptors fan, he helps me get on the officials doing the game.

"So he’s my partner in crime."

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