It’s hard to believe Drake finds time to make music when his full-time job is seemingly acting as an assistant coach to the Toronto Raptors.
The Canadian rapper is no stranger to self-inflated inspirational speeches. When it comes to hyping up his favorite basketball team courtside, though, Drake tends to go a bit overboard. During this year’s Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, his heckling was so over-the-top that Bucks coach Mike Budenholder called him out. Drake gave Raptors players face-to-face pep talks as they walked to their bench, and even gave Raptors coach Nick Nurse a shoulder massage mid-game.
To reinforce fan boundaries, the NBA spoke to the Raptors during this year’s Eastern Conference finals about Drake’s actions on the sidelines, reports ESPN. It’s not the first time he’s been warned. Last year, the NBA condoned Drake over the “use of bad language” during a confrontation with then-Cavaliers center Kendrick Perkins.
Update – 10:30 pm: NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the league’s conversation with Drake in an interview with ESPN.
“I think in the case of Drake, as I’ve said before, I mean we certainly appreciate his superfan status, and I know he’s beloved in the community of Toronto. I think certainly we don’t want fans, friend or foe, contacting an NBA coach during a game. I think that even as Nick Nurse later said, I didn’t even realize it was Drake or hardly was aware that I was being touched, and I think those can lead to dangerous situations. You’re in the middle of coaching a game and you’re completely focused, you obviously don’t want somebody who is not on your team touching you.
We understood that in this case, given Drake’s relationship to the team, it’s not the same as just any fan who happened to be courtside touching a coach. But I think that’s an absolute bright line that we have to draw. So that’s one example and I would also say that I think the issue for the league is that he has this ambassador-type role with the team. So he is viewed a little differently than any fan sitting there. But at the same time I think there are appropriate lines that shouldn’t be crossed in terms of how a competing team is addressed or the officials for that matter.
“As I said, you know, the league office had conversations directly with Drake and his manager and I think we ended up in a good place.”
This new warning arrives before the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Rappers. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he’s “not worried about Drake.” Point guard Stephen Curry thinks Drake’s antics are entertaining. “I know it’s a tricky situation with him being right there on the court, but at the end of the day, he’s having fun,” said Curry. “You can’t hate on nobody having fun.”
Perhaps the best take comes from Klay Thompson, the Warriors’ shooting guard. “Do I like him as a Raptors fan? No, but I like him as a musician,” Thompson said during a press conference. “He’s extremely talented. But I will definitely skip the song if I don’t like it. If it’s one of his soft R&B songs, I’ll skip it because I’m in kill mode right now trying to get these four games.”
The NBA Finals begin tonight at 9 p.m. EST. The Toronto Raptors will play the Golden State Warriors, and somewhere courtside Drake will be losing his mind per routine.
Update – 11:00 pm: Drake didn’t entirely tone down his antics during game one. He wore a Raptors jersey bearing the name of Steph Curry’s father, Denzel. He also covered up his Steph Curry and Kevin Durant tattoos. Yes, he actually has the jersey numbers of Curry and Durant tattooed on his arm.
Drake really thinks he's one of the players ? pic.twitter.com/z9WQklJRX1
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 31, 2019
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) May 31, 2019