Drake, the Canadian hip-hop artist, will try his best to get under the skin of good friend LeBron James when his Toronto Raptors square off against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Eastern Conference Finals starting Tuesday.
Drake, Raptors’ global ambassador, has been making his presence felt during the playoffs, frequently annoying opposition players with his wild celebrations and courtside mannerisms. On April 16, during Toronto’s 102-99 win over Indiana Pacers, the musician jumped out his seat at courtside and enthusiastically clapped close to Rodney Stuckey’s face. Needless to say, Stuckey wasn’t thrilled.
After that game, the rapper took to Instagram and posted a photo of Pacers star Paul George with tears running down his face and the caption, “I knew you were scared.” Don’t be surprised if Drake performs similar antics when the second seeded Raptors challenge the top seeded Cleveland Cavaliers for a berth in June’s NBA Finals.
Drake and LeBron have a history…
Drake and James have an interesting history. In 2011, Drake accompanied the Miami Heat for most of the NBA Playoffs and revealed the “real family relationship” he shares with James. “I get out of my seat and kneel on the court as if I’m about to get in the game. We’re playing on a similar wavelength,” the rapper wrote in a column for Yahoo Sports after Game 4 of the conference finals between Chicago and Miami.
Incidentally, a few years later, Drake was denied access to the Miami Heat locker room after LeBron’s team won a nail-biter against San Antonio in Game 7 to win the NBA championship. “Security stopped Drake from entering the locker room without a media pass, but according to Hoopsworld.com, he reportedly said, “I am media.” Drake still attends the champagne-soaked after-party with James, Dwyane Wade … and Drogba,” according to a report on ESPN.
Drake: Annoying or enthusiastic?
Last week, ESPN did an extensive feature on the rapper’s influence on sports teams, especially his overwhelming impact on NBA stars. “As a basketball fan, that hunger can make him come off like the kid who was always too busy with acting and rapping to give everything he had to sports, the one who still dreams of running out of a tunnel while smoke billows behind him.”
On Sunday, Toronto’s biggest fan couldn’t attend Game 7 of the second round series against Miami Heat as the Raptors mascot substituted for him while dressed as the rapper (see below). Will Drake’s courtside presence annoy LeBron James & Co? It remains to be seen.
— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) May 15, 2016