Drake is one of the world's best selling musicians. He has appeared on tracks by virtually every major star in the rap or R&B world. He sells out concerts in major arenas. He's God's gift to rap in Canada, and draws paparazzi around the world. He also performs at high school basketball games.
If the last part of that statement sounds out of place, that's because it is. Yet it's also the truth after it was announced that Drake would perform at the Jordan Brand Classic, a high school all-star game which will be held at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn on April 13.
Drake's performance was announced by Nike and will immediately follow the national game at the Jordan Classic doubleheader; the event features both a "regional game" and a "national game," with the national contest featuring top prospects like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and the Harrison twins of Fort Bend, Texas.
While there have been famous musical acts to perform at the Jordan Classic in the past -- Akon and Common come to mind -- it's arguable that none have had as high a profile as Drake. It's not as if the rapper is going to be in the area by chance, either; he kicks off his "Club Paradise" Tour two weeks later ... in California.
So why is Drake playing a high school event? Probably because it's A) organized by Nike featuring the name and brandables of His Airness and B) it features a whos who of likely future NBA stars. Both Parker and Wiggins would be NBA Draft lottery selections if they were available this year, and they almost certainly will be in 2014, unless they decide to stick around college longer.
That means that Drake can make a celebrity connection with the next generation of superstars before they're true, national superstars.
At the same time, the rapper's performance also provides a watershed to just how culturally relevant high school basketball has begun. For years the McDonald's All-American Game, and now the Jordan Brand Classic, have been televised on ESPN. Now that exposure -- and the hype around their rise through the ranks -- has made these teens only slightly smaller celebrities than their collegiate counterparts, the very people they'll become in a matter of months.
Will Drake start a cavalcade of musical superstars to small town prep games? Probably not (if Ke$ha starts frequenting suburban L.A. hoops games, Prep Rally will happily author a mea culpa). Still, his appearance in Brooklyn is a powerful reminder of just how prominent top high school athletes are in society today, especially compared with those in generations past.
After all, Buddy Holley never performed after a prep football game.
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