Like a lot of NBA players — and, judging by other metrics, large swaths of (mostly young) people who don't play professional basketball — Amir Johnson likes Drake. The Toronto Raptors big man might not like Drake quite as much as Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings, because apparently nobody does, but he's appeared on stage with Drake wearing Drake-branded garb at the artist's own OVOFest, rocked OVO gear in pickup environments and even, once upon a time, played a little bit of "late night hoops" with the singer/rapper and fellow Canadian pop star Justin Bieber. They're pretty tight bros, it seems.
So when Drake's third full-length studio album, "Nothing Was the Same," hit stores on Tuesday, it stood to reason that Johnson would pick up a copy or two — one for the home hi-fi, one for the car — to support the scene. As it turned out, though, Johnson had something larger in mind:
Let it never be said that Johnson's anything less than a man of his word:
Pretty cool fan interaction/community outreach, Amir. And you didn't even have to put on makeup to appear undead to make this one happen; you just needed to be willing to put a dent in that $6.5 million annual salary. As one of the league's premier (if often underappreciated) workhorses, Johnson certainly puts the time and effort into earning the money, so he might as well enjoy spending it.
The willingness to shell out shekels to both support a hometown boy made good and give back to Raptors fans will only further entrench Johnson as one of the Raptors' most popular players, which I'm sure he appreciates. I'm not positive if this necessarily usurps "riding an elephant" atop Johnson's list of offseason accomplishments, but making scores of young Torontonians happy via audio hookup probably ranks right up there.
Just one bummer, journalistically speaking — I can't confirm exactly how many CDs Johnson actually bought.
“I mean, I could look that up, but I certainly wouldn’t disclose it over the phone,” said Matt (just Matt), the manager on duty at the Future Shop location at Yonge Street and Dundas Street in Toronto, when I called there Wednesday afternoon. "I know [Johnson] was in here yesterday, and some of our staff was excited about it, but that’s about it.”
A call to the HMV on Yonge Street was similarly unsuccessful.
"I'm trying to call my manager, but he doesn't seem to be answering any of my pages," the kind HMV employee told me.
(I can't imagine why answering this phone call wasn't Priority No. 1.)
Said kind HMV employee did, however, confirm that they've got copies of "Nothing Was the Same" in stock — both the regular album release and a special limited edition version — so either Amir left some behind or the store reloaded on the double. That's apparently not the case over at Future Shop; a second phone call got me a second employee, who confirmed that they were, in fact, fresh out of the new Drizzy. (So if you're a Torontonian looking for a hard copy of "Nothing Was the Same" today, I guess HMV's the move.)
In conclusion: Congratulations, everyone.
Hat-tip to FTW.