Rapper Drake helped to convince British soccer star Jermain Defoe to leave the English Premier League and join Major League Soccer's Toronto Football Club after sharing his favourite things about the Canadian city. The Started From the Bottom hitmaker serves as a global ambassador for the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment group, which owns Toronto F.C., and he was recently rumoured to have played a part in recruiting his pal Defoe from London's Tottenham Hotspur F.C. for his hometown team.
Drake has now opened up about his involvement in the transfer deal, insisting he simply shared some advice about the North American city.
The musician tells the Toronto Sun, "I don't know if I had an influence on him coming here (to Canada). I think that all I did was give him the necessary information about a city he didn't know much about. I told him how great it's been to me, and how great I assumed it would be to him. We had a great conversation. We built up a personal relationship.
"I'm excited to see him begin his career here. I just do what I can. (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president Tim Leiweke) is the boss. It's all Tim, really. I was just a piece of the puzzle, I guess."
England striker Defoe was officially unveiled as a Toronto F.C. player during a press conference on Monday morning (13Jan14). His four-year deal with the club will kick off at the end of February (14).
Defoe, 31, isn't the first big name soccer star to leave a top European team for the MLS - David Beckham famously helped to raise the profile of the MLS during his five years at the Los Angeles Galaxy, while Frenchman Thierry Henry left Spanish side Barcelona in 2010 to join the New York Red Bulls.
Meanwhile, Drake's new role landed him the honour of introducing the starting line-up for the Toronto Raptors basketball team, another brand owned by the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment company, on Saturday (11Jan14), as they took on New York's Brooklyn Nets at home. The event was dubbed Drake Night and his presence appeared to be good luck for the Raptors - they went on to win the showdown 96 to 80.
There comes a time in every athletes' career when he or she has to step down from the active playing fields and be satisfied with the career behind him or her. For soccer star David Beckham, that time is upon him — and Monday, he announced that he will be leaving the LA Galaxy team after his final game, the MLS Cup 2012, on Dec. 1.
"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career," Beckham said in a statement post on the LA Galaxy's website.
But Beckham — who is married to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and father to sons Brooklyn, 13, Romeo, 10, Cruz, 7, and daughter Harper, 1 — won't be completely done with the game. "I don't see this as the end of my relationship with the league as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future," he said. "In my time here I have seen the popularity of the game grow every year. I've been fortunate to win trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I've had from fans in L.A. and across the States. Soccer's potential has no limits in this wonderful country and I want to always be part of growing it."
During his six seasons with the LA Galaxy, Beckham played in 98 regular season games, scored 18 goals, and aided in 40 assists. He also helped the team to three MLS Cup berths and to win the championship in 2011.
“Seldom does an athlete redefine a sport and David not only took our franchise to another level but he took our sport to another level,” said Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group). “It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of his world, and more importantly, to have him be a part of ours.”
MLS Commissioner Don Garber added: “When David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007, he set out to help grow MLS and the sport of soccer in North America. There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived. David has achieved great things on and off the field during his time with the Galaxy, and he will always be an important part of our history. We look forward to his continued involvement with the LA Galaxy and the League.”
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Rex USA]
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Specific plans for Michael Jackson’s memorial service were announced at a press conference on Friday (scroll down for footage), and those who spoke made it clear that this will be an unprecedented ordeal, even by Los Angeles standards.
Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, which owns L.A.'s Staples Center -- the site of Jackson’s Tuesday memorial service (and the site of his rehearsal two days before his death) -- opened up his statements by offering condolences to Jackson’s family, friends and fans.
Then came the details: 17,500 tickets will be available free of charge -- 11,000 of which will be for the Staples Center and the remaining 6,500 of which will be for the nearby Nokia Theatre, where the service will be shown via feed on the venue’s big screens; those wanting to attend the memorial service must register on Staplescenter.com (note: the site may take a while to load) through 6 p.m. PT Saturday; people randomly selected to attend the service will be notified on Sunday and given further instructions about retrieving their tickets.
Unfortunately, little else was revealed about Tuesday’s big event, including what it would actually entail (“No details are forthcoming about the memorial”), and the question of whether or not Jackson’s body would be on display was purposely dodged.
The Jacksons’ spokesperson, Ken Sunshine, repeatedly emphasized that the memorial service was “all about the fans.”
The King of Pop passed away June 25 following a cardiac arrest.
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The 3rd Annual Latin Grammy® Awards will be held on September 18, 2002 and be broadcast domestically by the CBS Television Network, it was announced Thursday by Recording Academy® and Latin Recording Academy® President/CEO Michael Greene.
The show--which will feature performances from some of the genre's biggest artists--will originate from Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, Calif. The Latin Recording Academy also has added two new award categories this year, Best Contemporary Tropical Album, and Best Christian Album, bringing the total to 41 categories. Nominations for the Latin Grammy Awards are expected to be announced in July.
"Along with the world, the Latin Recording Academy has had a year that's tested its perseverance, as well as its dedication to celebrating music as passionately as it has since LARAS first started three years ago," said Greene.
"From coming together to raise funds for New York rescue workers just three days after their own show had to be cancelled, to working diligently to stay relevant by adding two more award categories, the steadfast membership of almost 4,000 music makers from all over the world has a new sense of unity and purpose--to let the world know the 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards will be a spectacular worldwide celebration!
"We thank Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, Tim Leiweke and the folks at Kodak Theatre, and our terrific partners at CBS--especially Leslie Moonves--for helping to ensure that the Latin Grammy Awards will be a truly amazing, meaningful event for our nominees, members and our audience."
"Los Angeles was the birthplace of the Latin Grammys, and I look forward to continuing to host the event in this great city, best known as the entertainment capital of the world," said Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn.
The 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards will be broadcast domestically by CBS from 9-11 p.m. (ET/PT). The network also will distribute the show internationally through CBS Broadcast International, providing the show to an estimated 120 countries. The 1st Annual Latin Grammy Awards marked the first time a largely Spanish-language program was aired in prime time in the U.S., and its successful reach, prestige value and unique musical content was a powerful addition to the network's offerings.
"It once again is our privilege to broadcast the Latin Grammy Awards," said Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS.
"This event reaffirms our commitment to the Latin Recording Academy, to diversity and to the best in entertainment programming. After the tragic events of last year which forced us to cancel the Latin Grammy broadcast, we are thrilled to be back with another show featuring some of the world's most exciting music and performers."
"Kodak Theatre, one of America's premier showplaces and Hollywood's newest attraction, truly is the perfect showplace for an important and prestigious awards show such as the Latin Grammys," said Timothy J. Leiweke, President, AEG, which operates Kodak Theatre. "The intimacy of the theater--as well as the spectacular sight lines and sound--will make this an incredible evening of music for our guests and the worldwide audience."
The 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards is a Recording Academy event produced in association with Cossette Productions. Pierre and John Cossette are executive producers; Ken Ehrlich is producer/writer; Walter Miller is producer/director; and Tisha Fein is coordinating producer.