WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Soon after the launch of the Wizards’ 2014-15 season, the team announced a partnership with D.C.-based rapper Wale, who would begin serving as their “creative liaison.”
However nebulous that title may have seemed at the time – besides the inclusion of some of the rapper’s music in the team’s opening video, and his participation in Washington’s home-opening festivities – the extent of Wale’s creative reach and how it could better the team may be beginning to bear fruit.
In the February issue of ESPN The Magazine, released Wednesday, you’ll find an interview with Wale, which elaborates on his role with the Wizards and lays out some initiatives he’d like to accomplish.
Wale’s rate of pay appears to be a quid pro quo exchange. Writer Dan Friedell explains in the introduction to the piece:
While minority owners Usher (Cavs) and Justin Timberlake (Grizzlies) spent millions to be part of their teams, Wale gets to promote his music-a remix of his hit “Ambition” plays during warm-ups-while the Wizards get his liaising for free.
Now, about those initiatives.
“I want to be a shot in the arm to DC basketball,” Wale explains to Friedell. “My job is to provide a spark, at all costs.”
Kanye designing new uniforms?
“I’m not going to do anything corny, but I’m talking to Kanye about designing new uniforms,” Wale said.
Wale was referring to the famed rapper, Kanye West, ESPN has informed The Fan (to be overly clear).
Creating an atmosphere at Verizon Center
“I want to see the phone booth rocking every time I come here,” he explained. “I want to create the “Lake Show,” create what the Bulls had.
“I want to take the personality of our stars — John, Otto, Marcin — and create what Kemp and Payton had, what LeBron and D-Wade had. That’s the vibe I want.”
Getting Wizards fans to attend games
“Look, I can remember that fuzzy reception on Fox 45 watching Calbert Cheaney and Chris Whitney and those teams lose to the Phoenix Suns by 15, 20. But now? Now we have a team to be proud of,” he said. “And even if you’re coming to a game for the wrong reasons, like trying to win a pair of shoes or something, I want you into it. We want to sell this place out.”
(Thanks to Dan Steinberg for bringing the interview to our attention.)