The prolific rap star Drake (nee Aubrey Drake Graham) is expanding his purview, and it has been officially announced that he’s accepted the role of host for a sports awards show. Drake is set to host the 2014 ESPY Awards. ESPN confirmed the announcement, and Drake appeared on NBA Countdown to discuss his role in hosting the event. The awards show is set for later this summer.
Speaking on the show, Drake revealed that one of his idols, Jamie Foxx, hosting the ESPY Awards inspired him to take the hosting gig, and hosting Saturday Night Live (SNL) gave him the “confidence” to do so as well. Drake stated: “I watched a guy that I look up to in every aspect of life, Jamie Foxx, do it, and I always say, ‘if I can follow in his footsteps, that’ll be a great career move for me.’ So, I was blessed with the opportunity to do it. SNL gave me the confidence to do it, and here I am.” In an official statement, Drake also said on the hosting job, “This is an incredible opportunity for me to combine two of my biggest passions-sports and performing.” When asked about being in the world of entertainment and having to “melt” it along with sports at the ESPY Awards on NBA Countdown, Drake responded, “Yeah, I mean, you know, I obviously am part of the music world, but I even said in one of my raps, ‘sports and music are so synonymous.’ And it’s true. I got a lot of friends that play for a lot of different teams. And yeah, I’m just excited to see all those guys in one room, poke a little fun, of course in a classy way. But just to see those guys laugh will be great.”
Drake also took to his Twitter account to promote the announcement, writing, “Honored to be this year’s @ESPYS host @espn 7.16.2014 #ESPYS #NWTS.” Along with the tweet, Drake also posted a tweaked picture of his Nothing Was The Same album cover, replacing his child image with that of an ESPY award. This isn’t Drake’s first foray into the sports world either. He helped the NBA team, the Toronto Raptors, launch a clothing line and also took a position as a global ambassador for the team.
Based on TMZ’s report on the news, Drake appeared to actively campaign for the hosting role this year. Reportedly, he showed the ESPY producers his appearance on SNL and even his hosting job for the 2011 Juno Awards in Canada. Now that Drake is set to host the 2014 ESPY Awards, he’s said to be taking the opportunity very passionately and seriously. In addition, the report indicates that Drake is already rehearsing for the event and is spending several days a week to get ready. He reiterated that point in his NBA Countdown appearance. When asked about his approach to the show, Drake responded, “We’re a few months out, but we’re working on it. The key is to be memorable, of course, especially in this age with the internet and everything going viral.”
With the multi-talented Drake now set to host the 2014 ESPY Awards, it appears his attempts to branch out from the music world are working out well for him. Noting his experience as an actor for the show Degrassi: The Next Generation as well as his admiration for Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx, who he spoke of wanting to emulate, it appears the next step would be a prominent Hollywood movie role. Drake will host the ESPN ESPY Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California on July 16.
By Jeffrey Harris