What Is The Deal With Drake?

I can’t believe I’m talking about Drake a few hours before Game 5.

Jim Rome
May 23, 2019 - 9:32 am
Drake

USA Today

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Game 5 of the Raptors-Bucks is tonight in Milwaukee. If I go back to the start of this series, I had a lot of thoughts about this matchup, a lot of different angles: Klaw v. Freak, Toronto’s Bigs v. Splash Mountain, how would Toronto show up after a draining series against Philly, how would Milwaukee respond to their first test of the playoffs? And that’s just a shortened list.

Four games in, you now have even more questions: Kawhi’s leg, Kyle Lowry’s hand, and Milwaukee losing control of the series.

But important as they are, they’re all a distant second to the biggest question in this series right now. And that question is: WHAT THE HELL IS THE DEAL WITH DRAKE?

No, seriously, THE HELL is going on?

Why is he giving Nick Nurse a massage during Game 4? Why is he just roaming wherever he wants on the sideline?

I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d ever be talking about Drake giving out massages. And it’s not just that we talked about it yesterday, it’s that it’s a two-day topic. Not only is Drake going massage therapist on Nick Nurse the biggest topic in this series, it’s the biggest topic in sports.

What a time to be alive.

It’s really weird. Really, really weird. And normally weird is good; in this case, weird is whack. I get it, you’re a superfan. Support your team. Hell, support your coach. Just don’t go all shiatsu on him in front 18,000 in that barn and millions more at home. Slide into his DM’s if you have to, just don’t breaking out the incents and baby oil on dude while he’s doin work. Trust me, Nurse doesn’t think that’s cool. And neither does his coaching counterpart in the series, Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer:

"I will say, again, I see it in some timeouts, but I don't know of any person that's attending the game that isn't a participant in the game a coach -- I'm sorry, a player or a coach, that has access to the court. I don't know how much he's on the court. It sounds like you guys are saying it's more than I realize. 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."

And there’s more: "You can't help but occasionally see Drake just going into timeouts or in and out of timeouts, whether he's encouraging or cheering for Toronto. You know, trying to talk to referees.”

Normally, a head coach saying that a fan is trying to rap with the referees during timeouts would be strange. Like, how the hell could a fan get anywhere near a referee during a game to talk to him, much less have an ongoing dialogue. Normally, that would be weird.  And not possible. But we’re talking about Drake here. And if dude is going to rub up his own coach during games, you can be damn sure he’ll be chopping up with the refs. I’m surprised he hasn’t already hit the officiating crew with _______.  Damn, never mind going deep tissue massage on the refs, I’m shocked this guy has broken out his own whistle, and called his own fouls: I’VE GOT A PLAYER CONTROL FOUL ON THIRTY-FOUR, GREEN! 

This dude has free run of the place. He essentially does whatever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants. How the hell is that ok?! A dude wandering on the court like that wouldn’t be okay at the Celebrity All-Star Game. And this isn’t the Celebrity all-star game. In fact, it’s about the farthest thing from it. It’s the Eastern Conference Finals. The Raptors are two wins from the Finals, six wins from a ring, and this dude is owning the sidelines like a player or a coach or a player-coach.

The European agent for Giannis tweeted, and then deleted, this take: Imagine a gig & an athlete on VIP seats, right next to the band, stands up on the stage just to show off during the entire game, knowing cameras are on him, occasionally even massaging the singer. Security and him both allow it. Never seen anything as disrespectful as this before...

He’s not wrong. And it’s not just about making Toronto a hostile home court or getting into the head of Bucks players, it’s just weird and bizarre. And embarrassing.

And the more you look at it, the worse it looks. And the dumber it looks. Honestly, it’s stupid as hell. Yes, the Bucks have bigger concerns than a recording artist running around on the court, but this isn’t about the Bucks. This is about the league and the Raptors.

Don’t get me wrong – I really like the Raptors. I think they’re a hell of an organization and what Masai has done remaking the team has been incredible. This has always been a huge Masai Ujiri house. 

And I like Drake. I know he comes off as super corny at times, but I’m not looking to take a run at the Raptors or at Drake.

His passion for the Raptors is great. I know he’s really important to their brand, to representing Toronto, and the North. They have Drake Night, he’s involved in designing jerseys, he’s an ambassador for the team. That’s all great. But he isn’t a member of the team. Even if he was an actual member of the front office, this wouldn’t be okay. You don’t see Bob Meyers running around, rubbing up Steve Kerr and acting the fool, do you?  Of course not. 

But this is nothing new. Just last year, Kendrick Perkins was jawing with Serge Ibaka, Drake made the mistake of getting involved and Perkins described the incident thusly: "He said something slick, so I said something back: 'Sit your ass down and watch the game.'"

If Kendrick Perkins tells me to sit my ass down and watch the game, I’m never standing up ever again. But that didn’t work for Drake.

But somebody has to stop this. And if you read his instagram posts, you know that somebody won’t be Drake himself. He had one post with photos of him getting amped on the sideline of the game with a caption that included a laughing emoji, a salt shaker emoji, and a shrug emoji.

And there was the Instagram Story where he liked a post from someone that included the following: "Sports media needs to accept the simple rule the Miami Hurricanes signed into law back in the 80s: if you don’t want the opposing team to celebrate and dance, prevent them from scoring, winning, or achieving their objective. Get over it and keep it moving."

One problem, Drake – you aren’t part of the team. The argument of “if you don’t want the opposing team to celebrate and dance, prevent them from scoring” is about people on the court or on the field. It’s not about fans.

You’re not supposed to be accepting Miami’s rule about celebrating, you’re supposed to be accepting the NBA’s rule about fan conduct. And dude, you are way over the line on that. Can you imagine any other fan running around on the court like that, massaging coaches, and trying to work the refs?

I can’t believe I’m talking about Drake a few hours before Game 5 and I hope I never have to again. Please, somebody do something. Because this is a bad look. For Drake, for the Raptors, and for the NBA.  And more importantly, no one needs to see that act in the finals!