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Raptors ambassador Drake calls for WNBA team in Toronto

Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Count four-time Grammy winner Drake among the growing number of basketball fans calling for the WNBA to expand north of the border.

"I need a Toronto team," the rap superstar and global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors posted in an Instagram story Wednesday morning.

To date, no WNBA team has been based outside of the United States. The NBA has had a presence in Canada since 1995.

The WNBA once fielded as many as 16 franchises from 2000-02 before facing a period of contraction. League membership has stayed at 12 organizations since 2009, by far the longest stretch without expansion or contraction in the league's 25-year history.

However, according to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, formal expansion talks are right around the corner.

"I suspect by next summer or this time next year, in our 26th season, we'll be talking about the number of teams and a list of where," she told ESPN's Tisha Thompson and Mechelle Voepel in October.

Drake isn't the only one championing an expansion team for his city. Former two-time Defensive Player of the Year Alana Beard has become one of the public faces of an effort to bring the WNBA to Oakland, where she's worked in venture capital since retiring after the 2019 season.

The closest the Bay Area has come to hosting North America's top women's league was the existence of the Sacramento Monarchs, just over an hour's drive up I-80. The franchise existed from 1997 to 2009, when they became the most recent WNBA team to cease operations.

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