Less Life: NBA Tells Drake to Pump the Brakes With the Sideline Antics

Illustration for article titled Less Life: NBA Tells Drake to Pump the Brakes With the Sideline Antics
Screenshot: Bleacher Report Video (YouTube)

While Drake might have free reign over the Billboard charts or your summertime Spotify playlist, it would appear his sovereignty has its limitations, as evidenced by the NBA calling Pusha T’s favorite rapper into the principal’s office.

For those out the loop, as the Toronto Raptors have spent the past few weeks snatching the souls out of 76ers center Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, October’s Very Own has spent his nights and weekends on the sidelines moonlighting as the most hated cheerleader in America.

As the global ambassador of the Toronto Raptors, the Grammy Award-winning artist parades up and down the sidelines, taunts players and referees from his courtside seat and does ridiculous shit like this to send basketball purists fuming:


Yes, that would be the 32-year-old rapper giving Raptors head coach Nick Nurse a fucking neck massage in the middle of a playoff game, which drew the ire of opposing coach Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I don’t know how much he’s on the court. It sounds like you guys are saying it’s more than I realize,” Budenholzer told ESPN. “There’s certainly no place for fans and, you know, whatever it is exactly that Drake is for the Toronto Raptors. You know, to be on the court, there’s boundaries and lines for a reason, and like I said, the league is usually pretty good at being on top of stuff like that.”

Suffice to say, Drake takes his job—because as the Raptors’ global ambassador, he’s actually paid to fan out—quite serious. Arguably too serious. Because while innocuous, his antics have created a spectacle that detracts from the game itself.

Which is why ESPN reports that the NBA has decided to intervene.

The NBA spoke to the Toronto Raptors during the Eastern Conference finals about Drake’s activity and presence on the sideline, a league spokesman told ESPN.


While the Golden State Warriors, who the Raptors will face in the NBA Finals starting Thursday night, are mixed on “DrakeGate”—Warriors coach Steve Kerr called Drake’s antics “exciting” and “fun” while guard Klay Thompson has barred his music—the league office obviously has the final say.

“We appreciate how big a fan he is, and I know the Raptors do,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “He has the official designation ‘ambassador’ [...] and he’s a global star, so it’s a huge deal that he’s so engaged with the team and loves the NBA so much. Obviously, there’s some lines that even ambassadors shouldn’t cross.”


So if the exuberant Drake we all love to hate is nowhere to be found, and is instead replaced with a more demure incarnation, don’t be surprised.

It’s may very well be all a part of God’s plan.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.

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I think all this is a bunch of nonsense to be honest. The amount of ink being spilled on it is absurd.  Apparently the NBA asked Toronto to move him off camera, but the Raptors declined. It’s all so silly. Tell him not to cross onto the court or wander the sideline, but anything else is just a high profile fan acting excited.