You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Raptors’ Win Enraptures Top Canadian Music Exec Chris Taylor

It’s not just a Drake thing — the entire Canadian music business is feeling gleeful over Toronto’s NBA championship. Among the celebrants is Toronto-bred Chris Taylor, the global president of music at Entertainment One, the global music and filmed company based in the land of Raptors. He was at the team’s very first game in 1995 at SkyDome, but since moving to Los Angeles in September, he’s had to enjoy the excitement taking place in Toronto from afar.

This was the first time Toronto made the NBA finals in the team’s 24-year history, and the first time a franchise outside America ever won the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy, beating the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in game 6.

Between 1.5-2 million people are expected to line the streets for the victory parade today as the team moves through the downtown core atop an open-air double decker bus, ending with a massive rally at Nathan Phillips Square. Toronto Mayor John Tory has encouraged everyone to come out.

Taylor, who was named one of Variety‘s International Music Leaders last year, is giving his Toronto staff time off to attend. “At eOne, we have a section of the day where people are going to be heading out to go watch the parade,” Taylor says. “I’ll watch the highlights somewhere.”

For game 6 Thursday night, before taking in a show by Canada’s Operators, Taylor gathered in downtown L.A. at Plan Check Kitchen with about a dozen eOne staffers, including his boss Darren Throop and basketball game virgin Ted May, the U.K.’s managing director and head of international.

The rest were “half Canadian, half from down here,” Taylor says, “but I think everybody wanted Toronto to win. It’s funny — in L.A. you’re either a Lakers fan or maybe a Clippers fan, but you are generally not a Golden State fan. It’s a bit of a rivalry. Even in the bar we were at, it was mostly people rooting for the Raptors.”

Taylor, a one-time lawyer who sold his practice in 2016 when he accepted the eOne position, used to represent Drake — the Raptors’ global ambassador, as if that needs clarifying. “I love Drake. I’m happy for him. He’s a genuine fan. Always has been,” he says.

As for Taylor, who grew up in Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit, he was a big Pistons fans, long before Canada had an NBA team in his lifetime (Toronto Huskies was the first in 1946-47 for the Basketball Association of America, the forerunner to the NBA).

When the Raptors launched, he bought tickets to SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) to watch them play the now-defunct, then-first-year expansion team Vancouver Grizzlies (now Memphis Grizzlies)  at the immense domed stadium in downtown Toronto, where the team initially had to play. They later moved to Scotiabank Arena, formerly the Air Canada Centre.

“At the last minute, we decided to go because it was the first game and we ended up getting tickets almost up by the roof, so far away,” Taylor recalls. “It was pretty crazy those first few seasons when they were playing there, because the court would be sitting in one corner of SkyDome with the seating around it. Some of the seats were so far away from the court you could barely even see. You needed binoculars to see the players.”

Radio magnate Allan Slaight of Slaight Communications was one of the businessmen who helped bring an NBA franchise to Toronto. Gary Slaight, a businessman and music industry vet in his own right, is his son and a good friend of Taylor’s who has generously treated him to his courtside seats over the years.

“Once you sit there you don’t want to sit anywhere else,” says Taylor. “It’s incredible. You get a sense of the speed of the game, the size of the guys, adding: “It can be a little scary sometimes, people jumping into the stands for loose balls and things like that.”

What did he think of the final game in Oakland at Oracle Arena? Was he yelling at the TV? Close to a heart attack, maybe, after they were up three games to one, and then lost the fifth and had another close game that easily could have gone to a game 7?

“It was a little anticlimactic,” he says. “It would have been fun if it ended with a final shot or a final miss or defensive play or something like that. It kind of fizzled out. But it doesn’t take away the long-term impact of the win. We’ve got a whole year now where we’re are the NBA champions. Now. we just need to figure out a way to re-sign Kawhi [Leonard, MVP] and try to continue the legacy.”

More Music

  • China Spying Technology Tik Tok Placeholder

    TikTok Gains Global Momentum -- but Also Raises Sticky Privacy Questions

    Bay Area rapper Saweetie didn’t intend for “My Type” to come out as a single. But when a clip of the bouncy anthem about desirable (and slightly vulgar) attributes in a partner started to take off on TikTok as part of a social media challenge, it became clear the song would be her defining hit. The [...]

  • Green Day Beat Saber music pack

    Beat Saber Gets Green Day Music Pack, 360-Degree Levels

    Coinciding with Green Day’s performance at the Game Awards, Facebook announced late Thursday that the popular virtual reality game Beat Saber is getting a Green Day music pack. The 6-song pack is slated to go live at midnight, and players will simultaneously get access to Beat Saber’s long-awaited 360-degree gameplay. The Green Day music pack [...]

  • Carlyle Group, Investors in Taylor Swift

    Carlyle Group, Investors in Taylor Swift Catalog, Address Scooter Braun Drama (Sort Of)

    Kewsong Lee, co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a private equity fund whose assets include a minority investment in Big Machine Label Group, the record company that’s home to Taylor Swift’s catalog, spoke to CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Wednesday. During the interview, held at the Goldman Sachs Financial Conference, host Wilfred Frost asked the business executive [...]

  • Deadliest Catch - Crab Fishing In

    Discovery Networks Corners Composers in Music Royalties Battle

    Shows on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, HGTV and Food Network may sound very different in the coming months. That’s because Discovery Networks, which owns those and other cable channels, is instituting a new pay policy that virtually assures no composer currently working on their programs will do so after Dec. 31. Discovery has informed [...]

  • Neon-Hum-Jonathan-Hirsch

    Sony Music Invests in Podcast Production Firm Neon Hum

    In its latest move into the podcast biz, Sony Music Entertainment announced a strategic investment in podcast production house Neon Hum. Founded by podcast producer Jonathan Hirsch (pictured above), L.A.-based Neon Hum has helped create multiple podcast hits including MSNBC’s “Bag Man” with Rachel Maddow, Dateline NBC’s “The Thing About Pam,” Wondery’s “Room 20,” Crooked [...]

  • Post Malone, Foo Fighters, More Join

    Post Malone, Foo Fighters, Many More Join Pharrell’s 2020 Something in the Water Festival

    Pharrell Williams today announced the music lineup for the second year of his acclaimed “Something in the Water,” a multi-day music festival and cultural experience taking place in his hometown of Virginia Beach over the weekend of April 24-26, 2020. A$AP Rocky, Baby Rose, Bae Worldwide, Banks, Beck, Brittany Howard, Buddy, Chad Hugo, Chance the Rapper, Clipse, EarthGang, [...]

  • Juice Wrld’s Mother Gives Statement: ‘Addiction

    Juice Wrld’s Mother Gives Statement: ‘Addiction Knows No Boundaries’

    In the first statement from Juice Wrld’s family after the rapper died on Sunday, his mother, Carmella Wallace, spoke of his struggles with addiction, which he addressed in many of his songs. “We loved Jarad with all of our hearts and cannot believe our time with him has been cut short,” she said to TMZ. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content