The NBA Finals start on Thursday night and you can be assured Drake will be in his familiar courtside seat near the Raptors bench, cheering on Toronto in their first Finals appearance.
The Toronto rapper is synonymous with the Raptors, for better or worse, thanks to his role as the team’s ambassador and his brand OVO’s partnership with the team, including naming rights on their training facility. Drake regularly hops up from his seat and is vocal in his support of the team, but sometimes toes the line between what is allowed of fans at an NBA game.
That issue came up in the Eastern Conference Finals as he roamed the sidelines and at one point was rubbing Nick Nurse’s shoulders during the game. That drew criticism from Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer and others, leading him to send a message with his attire for Game 6. While Drake and others have mostly brushed the issue aside, the league has taken a look into his sideline behavior and spoken with the team about it.
According to ESPN’s Michelle Steele, the NBA met with the Raptors to talk about Drake’s sideline activity during the conference finals, although it’s not known if any potential punishment was discussed if he crossed a line in the Finals. Given that Drake is technically a team employee and not just a fan, the league has even more ability to police his behavior at games and off the court, like the tampering fine when he talked about Kevin Durant on stage at OVO fest in 2014.
The Warriors don’t seem worried about the Drake effect in the Finals, but you can be sure that what he does on the sidelines will be a story on the ABC broadcasts and the league will be keeping an eye on him as well.