In 2009, Drake first met LeBron James in Toronto. The event was the release party for the Toronto rapper’s So Far Gone mixtape and on the same night, he met then Toronto Raptors-star Chris Bosh. That fateful night managed to spark off a friendship between the three that would endure for nearly a decade, as each went on to leave Toronto in their own way. Drake bounced to become the world’s most popular rapper, while LeBron and Bosh linked up together in Miami as members of the Miami Heat.
Their unique link has sustained well-beyond basketball but there’s a history there. Drake, Toronto’s current boy rap king took the mantle from another Toronto legend. Bosh became the second big Toronto basketball star following Carter’s ascent in 1999 and his all-time highlight of the Slam Dunk Contest win in 2000. To the three men, Vince made Canada and Toronto seem larger than life just from his work on the basketball court.
Years after that initial encounter, the three men sat down to bring their respective worlds together again for LeBron’s Uninterrupted channel. During a 20-minute conversation, the trio sit back and reflect on their mutual respect for one another, how each came up from different backgrounds (Drake is from Toronto, Bosh from Dallas and LeBron from Akron, Ohio) and most importantly, their love for Vince Carter and how he changed Toronto the moment he came to the city.
Promoting The Carter Effect, a brand new documentary about Carter’s influence and relationship with Toronto, Drake reflects on how Vince’s popularity brought rappers to the city and made clubs feel like “entirely different worlds”. “Jay-Z even came to perform in a parking lot for Roc The Carabana, and that had never happened before!” Drake says.
“It’s been a journey,” Drake says about his hometown’s emergence as a basketball hotbed. “The further we get, the more we forget the early stages. There were times it was really tough to transcend that border. We have a city that’s so proud, and people that are diehards, not just from basketball but for everything.”