“I get a ring and bring it home like I’m Cory Joe…”

Cory Joseph’s Toronto bona fides were already established before Drake dropped his name—being a T-Dot native who made the League set his status as a 6 God for the rest of time—but if there was any doubt, getting a Drizzy shoutout certainly solidified the fact. With All-Star Weekend about to hit the 6, we spoke briefly with the Raptors guard about growing up north of the border.

SLAM: What was it like being raised in the Toronto area?

Cory Joseph: I was born into a basketball family. I didn’t get much into hockey—hockey is the Canadian sport. We grew up in an area called the co-ops: me, my brother, two sisters and my mother. My father and my mother were separated by then, but my father was my coach. He was the coach of the high school team. We would go watch his games.

SLAM: Did you grow up a Raptors fan?

CJ: I was a fan. I watched as many games as I could when they were on TV. We didn’t get much from the West Coast, but I was an NBA fan. I would watch Vince Carter, Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady. I put a lot of time in the driveway pretending I was those guys and that I played on the Raptors.

SLAM: Do you remember your first jersey?

CJ: Me and my brother owned a Ray Allen Seattle SuperSonics jersey. That was his favorite player.

SLAM: What was the first pair of kicks that was important to you?

CJ: I had the VCs. I had the Shox, man. The [Nike] Vince Carter Shox.

SLAM: How about your first basketball?

CJ: The one with the Shaq hand. It might be an indoor/outdoor ball and it had a hand on it, [Shaq’s] handprint.

SLAM: How about the first hoop that meant a lot to you?

CJ: There was a couple. We used to go down to this little park—we had a hoop there. We had great games. A lot of the best guys in the city used to go there. It was in the neighborhood, down the street. And my dad, one time, he bought us a nice hoop—a really nice hoop—that we destroyed from playing so much. But he bought us a nice NBA backboard hoop. I’ll never forget that one.

SLAM: Is it crazy to you that Toronto is getting the All-Star Game this year?

CJ: I’m so excited and I’m so happy for the city. To have All-Star here? There’s a buzz to the city. It just shows how far we came, basketball-wise. It’s been unbelievable. Like I said, this is a hockey country. To have basketball here, it’s amazing. Being from Toronto, I know how happy everybody is in the city. I know how stoked everybody is to see all the celebs and all the All-Stars come here.

SLAM: How cool was it hearing your name in a Drake lyric?

CJ: It’s amazing. I was actually at a basketball game [when “Charged Up” dropped]. I was watching Canada in the Pan Am Games. I didn’t get to play because my contract wasn’t done. After the game, I got all these texts. I looked at my phone and said, What the heck’s going on? Drake is one of the best. He does a lot for the city, a lot for the country. I’m happy that I’ve gotten to know him.

SLAM: Have you played the song in the locker room to show off for your teammates?

CJ: Nah, I haven’t bragged. They’ve played it, though. Every time I do something, they say, Oh, you’re charged up, man!

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