The recently completed NBA Finals, in which the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games to win their first NBA championship, was full of courtside drama, beyond the goings-on of the games themselves and the multiple significant injuries.
There was the incident involving the wife of the Warriors’ owner talking to Jay-Z, leading to threats from fans of Beyonce, as well as the much uglier incident in which a minority owner of the Warriors, Mark Stevens, shoved Raptors player Kyle Lowry, leading to a yearlong suspension for Stevens. And in the Toronto games, there was rapper and area native Drake, who made his presence known for each of the games in Toronto throughout the Raptors’ playoff run.
Drake did not appear at any of the three NBA Finals games at the Warriors’ Oracle Arena in Oakland, and a new report by TMZ says that’s not by accident.
Per the report, the NBA reached out to the rapper and asked that he not attend any of the Warriors’ home games in the Finals, due to “security concerns.”
The league, TMZ said, “expressed concern about potentially angry Warriors fans doing something stupid like taunting Drake or throwing stuff at him… which wouldn’t just put Drake at risk, but also other people sitting near him.”
Drake, whether it was due to the request or not, did not travel to the Bay Area for any of the games there, and led the Raptors fan watch party in Toronto for Game 6, in which the Raptors clinched the title.
The rapper’s father, Dennis Graham, told TMZ that he doesn’t believe that the Raptors should visit President Trump at the White House, and should instead go to see Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Drake, for his entire career, has been a frequent presence at NBA games and other league events. He hosted the NBA Awards in 2017, and has performed more than once at NBA All-Star Weekend festivities.
— MCZ.6iX (@mczp6ix) June 16, 2019
Drake has been most associated with the Raptors, his hometown team. He was named a “global ambassador” for the Raptors in 2013, and has frequently interacted with players, both on the Raptors and opposing teams, during games, with the latter interactions often consisting of trash talk.
The rapper’s presence led Fortune magazine to ask, early this month, whether Drake is a “brilliant brand ambassador or annoying NBA superfan?”
Per The Source, during the Raptors’ Eastern Conference Finals series against the Milwaukee Bucks, Mallory Edens, the daughter of the Bucks’ owner, wore a shirt to a game with a picture of rapper and Drake nemesis Pusha T. Drake, however, was not in attendance for that game in Milwaukee.