The weekend will reportedly feature several charity-driven events, though the centerpiece will be a celebrity softball game on Friday, May 22nd at the University of Houston’s Cougar Field.
Drake will take the field alongside a number of athletes and entertainers, including local talent like former Astros stars Chris Sampson and Brandon Backe, the Houston Texans’ Duane Brown and Darryl Morris Jr. and Houston rapper Kirko Bangz. NFL players Dwayne Bowe, Taylor Gabriel, Marlon Moore and Le’Ron McClain will also participate, as will rapper P. Reign. Lineups are subject to change, and more big names will be added in the coming days.
Tickets for the softball game are currently on sale with proceeds benefitting the Houston Astros Urban Youth Academy. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m., with a Home Run Derby slated for 6 p.m. and the game starting at 7 p.m.
At last year’s inaugural Houston Appreciation Weekend, Drake corralled Houston Rockets star James Harden and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant for a celebrity basketball game. He also raised money for several local organizations including the Houston Food Bank, Interfaith Ministries, Keep Houston Beautiful, and the T.J. Ford Foundation.
Despite his Canadian roots, Drake’s career is heavily tied to Houston. In 2008, local hip-hop impresario Jas Prince discovered the then-bourgeoning MC on MySpace and passed his music on to Lil Wayne. Houston legend Bun B was also an early supporter and collaborator. As Drake’s debut mixtape, So Far Gone, was gaining traction in 2009, Bun B told Rolling Stone, “It’s just one of those moments in time, where the right person comes with the right music to the people. Everything is working in his favor. He’s obviously very talented, I don’t think anyone can dispute that.”