Drake congratulates Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) as he leaves the court with three minutes left in the in second half action in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference final against the Milwaukee Bucks in Toronto on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. The Raptors defeat the Bucks 120-102. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Drake passions heat up with Raptors’ run as crucial game approaches

The off-court beef has been equal parts invigorating and infuriating for fans of both teams

By now, Drake’s relentless grandstanding on behalf of his beloved Toronto Raptors is to be expected.

And so too, then, is the wrath of Milwaukee Bucks’ fans now excoriating the Canadian rapper for a series of escalating taunts.

READ MORE: Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

The off-court beef has been equal parts invigorating and infuriating for fans of both teams, with Drake’s gleeful jeers only goading more cross-border smack-talk on the eve of Saturday’s pivotal Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference final at Scotiabank Arena.

The mantle south of the border was taken up Thursday night by Mallory Edens, the daughter of Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens, who trolled the 6 God by sitting courtside at Game 5 in a shirt featuring Drake nemesis Pusha T.

Drake clapped back on Instagram by changing his profile avatar to one of Mallory Edens. Clicking on the photo leads to multiple images and video clips that include cheering Raptors fans in the Scotiabank Arena’s tailgate zone, Jurassic Park, as they emerged victorious Thursday to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“All is fair in war and war and trust me, I’ll still get you tickets to ovo fest,” reads one card, referring to Drake’s star-studded summer music festival.

Another quote is overlaid on a photo of what appears to be a recording studio with a large window that looks onto the CN Tower: “Meet me in Jurassic Park at 8:30 whole city should be out like the sun… history is upon us.”

Several Bucks fans, meanwhile, showed up in “F—k Drake” t-shirts at Thursday’s game in Milwaukee.

Drake wasn’t there to witness this in person.

Instead the Raptors’ global ambassador celebrated with his entourage amid jubilant Toronto fans at Jurassic Park, pacing on an adjacent stage as critical possessions came and went, and beaming as the buzzer confirmed another win for Canada’s lone NBA team.

Drake’s ties to the team go well beyond the run-of-the mill superfan.

His powerful OVO brand is woven deeply into the team — literally, when you consider those Drake-inspired uniforms they’ve donned for the series, not to mention the team’s practice facility, recently renamed the OVO Athletic Centre.

But while Drake’s ardent fandom makes for juicy headlines and reliably animated reaction shots for TV cameras, it has raised questions about reasonable courtside decorum, which has included jabs at rival coaches, referees and players alike.

Drake’s antics have clearly hit a nerve.

Earlier in the series, a Milwaukee radio station put a temporary ban on Drake tunes. The hosts at 103.7 KISS-FM said they hoped their “break from Drake” would help the Bucks squash the Raptors.

Earlier in the series, Drake weathered hometown wariness, too, for a supposed curse when many superstitious sports fans pointed out that past teams and athletes he has supported often lose.

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction snafu delays Arrow Lakes hospital renos

Arrow Lakes Hospital rebuild now expected to be finished this spring

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

Nakusp taking part in project to reduce wildfire risks

Trust provides over $1 million to protect communities

Permitting process pushes back completion for Slocan fibre-optic line

Work may not be done until summer 2021, more than a year after initial completion date

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Most Read