Drake has become an interesting subplot of the NBA Finals just one game in, and as it turns out that’s because he’s trying very hard to be the talk of the town. The Toronto rapper was front and center as the Raptors took Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. And though he didn’t do anything too crazy on the sidelines — until after the game when he was jawing with Draymond Green, that is — he did his part to troll the Warriors in his own special way.
Drake showed up to ScotiaBank Arena on Thursday night wearing a vintage Dell Curry Raptors jersey. Steph Curry’s father played for the Raptors in the early days of the franchise, and it seems Drake found the best way to keep his trolling streak going was to wear a Raptors jersey that says “Curry” and “30” on the back.
But as it turns out, there’s a very interesting story behind the jersey Drake rocked on Thursday night, which was autographed, if you didn’t notice. As it turns out, that jersey isn’t a replica of an authentic — it’s the real deal. And what’s more, it was a very recent acquisition for the rapper.
Drake didn’t already own the Curry Raptors jersey, but rather his stylist worked hard to track the jersey down through a Brooklyn vintage sports memorabilia shop. Action Network’s Darren Rovell shared the story behind the troll on Friday.
As the story noted, the stylist had to know a guy, who knew a guy, and then convince a guy, to make it happen.
It was 1 a.m. ET on Tuesday when Al Martiniello took the phone call. It was Drake’s stylist on the line: Did Martiniello, who owns a vintage sports clothing shop in Brooklyn called Select Vintage, ever see a Dell Curry Raptors jersey?
Martiniello said he hadn’t, but had a friend named Evan Flores who loved jerseys and had sourced things before. Within three hours, Flores had found Benjamin Weil and his Dell Curry Raptors jersey.
Weil had gotten the jersey from a former teammate of Curry’s, and he didn’t want to part with it at first.
Weil said he had purchased it from a former Raptors player six years ago. It was tailored for Dell, but he never played in it. It was also signed by him.
Martiniello begged. It was for a high profile client and he had to take it.
“He loves Dell,” Martiniello said. “And it wasn’t about money, but I did have to ask him, if I could convince you to sell what’s the lowest number you would take?”
That likely means Drake paid a hefty penny for the privilege, and thankfully for Drake, it fit him pretty well, though it was a custom job.
Once the deal was made, there was the issue of timing. Apparently, the best way to make sure Curry got trolled in Game 1 was to drive the jersey across New York State and into Canada to hand-deliver it to Drake’s people.
It was day’s end by the time Martiniello got it, and he didn’t trust next-day shipping. So Martiniello and Flores, the man who found the jersey, got in the car and drove 10 hours to Toronto in time for a hand-off on Wednesday night with Drake’s people.
That’s a lot of driving for one jersey, especially when you consider I-90 is one of the more boring stretches of interstate going from Buffalo to Brooklyn. I’m sure it was an interesting talk with border patrol explaining the trip as well. But crossing an international bridge with a jersey for a rapper to execute an elaborate and very public troll on behalf of your basketball team is far from the craziest thing to happen this year. It’s definitely one of the weirder stories in the NBA this season, though.