It might seem like Drake put Toronto on the map, but even the self-proclaimed 6 God admits it was NBA star Vince Carter.
The new documentary, The Carter Effect, directed by Canadian Sean Menard — and executive produced by LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Drake and Adel “Future the Prince” Nur — chronicles the impact the Florida native had on the city, and to the game in Canada, when he was drafted to the fledgling Toronto Raptors in 1998, just three years into the franchise.
“Vinsanity” ensued, marked by a dunk contest at the 2000 NBA All-Star weekend that left jaws dropping. He soon became known as “Air Canada” or “Half Man, Half Amazing.” He left the Raptors in 2004, an emotional part of his history with Toronto that is depicted in the film.
As Drake said onstage after the premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Saturday (Sept. 9), “It just let me know that it was possible. It was confidence. It was the realization that it was attainable. This guy could come over here and lift us up. Imagine if it was one of us that could make it out there.”
Until then, hockey had always been the dominant sport, but with Carter’s acrobatic playing skills, basketball culture followed north of the border, particularly to Toronto, magnifying and exposing more hip-hop, helping to create the sneaker boom, and even launching bottle service in the T-dot when he partnered in a nightclub.
Drake — who became the Raptors global ambassador in 2013 — is all over the film, as is fellow Toronto rapper Kardinal Offishall, who began his career in the mid-’90s and is sometimes called the “Godfather of Canadian hip-hop.” Music video director X is also interviewed, as is Boi 1-da, Drake’s producer.
But it’s not a music film by any stretch. There are interviews with Steve Nash, Carter’s cousin and then-teammate Tracy McGrady, and Carter’s mom, Michelle Carter-Scott. Carter is also in the film, but did not make it to the screening.
In one particular revealing moment in the doc, Drake shows the cover of Slam magazine that features him, in a suit, flanked by current Raptors Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan with the caption “6 Gods.”
“It’s probably the coolest thing I ever got to do. To freeze this moment in time and dress like I own the team. I think this picture says a lot,” Drake says. “This is the Carter Effect right here.”