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Why does Drake Trash Talk NBA Players?

Drake is an international music superstar and according to Forbes he has racked up 142 million single sales, which makes him the biggest selling artist for singles. As a native of Toronto, Canada Drake was always going to be a Toronto Raptors fan and due to his music success he has court side seats to all the home games. Considering Drakes global status and his adoring fans why does Drake Trash Talk NBA Players?

Why Does Drake Trash Talk NBA Players? Drake trash talks NBA players, as he wants to ensure that NBA superstars on the opposition teams do not play to their full potential. This in turn gives the Toronto Raptors more chance of winning,

However, there is more to Drakes trash talking then just saying the odd word to a superstar. We have looked at how Drakes trash talks to NBA players, specifically the Steph Curry incident in the 2019 and how the NBA responds to Drakes actions.

Background to Drake’s Trash Talking of NBA Players?

In the summer of 2019, Canada finally got their first and long awaited NBA championship as the Toronto Raptors prevailed in a 5-game finals series against the Golden State Warriors.  After 4 years of Cavs vs. Warriors finals showdowns, which gave NBA a huge rise in popularity worldwide with unprecedented TV numbers, things took  a turn for the worse in the 2019 finals. For the first time in 8 years, there was no LeBron James, and a series of untimely injuries ruled Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Demarcus Cousins out for the Warriors.

But with the Raptors cruising to their 4-1 series win, it was the Toronto native hip-hop superstar Drake who took the headlines this time, and provided some much needed spice. Although many question Drake’s loyalty to his hometown team and the motives for his continuous trash talking over the years, it is clear that he has great passion for the sport which can be seen from his game-to-game antics. The league, along with the Toronto Raptors CEO Tim Lieweke recognized his growing influence on the sport and announced him as the team’s “global ambassador” back in 2013. From then on, he is ever-involved with the franchise and the league, from participating in the All-Star game to dedicating songs to NBA stars. His name has truly become synonymous with the Toronto Raptors.

How does Drake Trash Talk NBA Players?

Since he has the privilege of the first row seats right next to the Raptors bench, most of his trash talking moments involve him jumping, shouting, mocking and doing everything in his power to get under the skin of opposing star players. In the critical moments of games, he goes and stands right behind the player taking the throw in, whispering in his ears. If the player misses a dunk, airballs a free throw or provide any type of blooper moment, Drake makes sure they don’t hear the end of it until the final buzzer sounds. Although we see trash talking as part of everyday sport, it is disrespectful to the NBA players who have and do strive for excellence in their athletic field.

Nor can we defend trash talking as enhancing the goal of athletic competition, since the ability to verbally abuse opponents and remain impervious to their abuse are irrelevant to the athletic excellence that contests are designed to measure. 

Nicholas Dixon (2007) Trash talking, respect for opponents and good competition, Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 1:1, 96-106

Although this type of behavior doesn’t seem like something that can actually affect players on top of the game like the ones in the NBA, that isn’t always the case. They are just not used to a fan being allowed to do stuff Drake does and get away with it. Mike Budenholzer, coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, pointed that out in frustration after his team lost momentum in the series against the Raptors, in which Drake was constantly stepping on the court and talking to the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Although those types of moments are the norm, there were times in which he took things further and really got creative, which brings me to his most iconic trash talking moment.

What is Drake’s most Iconic Trash Talking Moment?

With the Raptors playing the Warriors and their arguably best player, two-time league MVP Steph Curry in the finals, Drake took the opportunity to show up to game one in a Curry Jersey. Not the Golden State one, but the old autographed Dell Curry one from the time Steph’s father played for the Raptors. That way he reminded Steph that it is his father’s team he is trying to stop from achieving their first title.

The funny part of this story is that by deciding to troll Steph in this way, he actually prevented his plan to show up for the second game in that exact same jersey, as his father later admitted. Pulling this off wasn’t that straightforward, as Drake had to go to great lengths of finding a jersey collector who had the autographed one. Since he wasn’t so eager to part ways with it, it took considerable time and money to finally organize everything in time for the game. This just shows how much Drake loves to be in the center of attention, which he certainly was that night… at least for a couple of minutes.

How did NBA Players react to Drake’s Trash Talking?

Critical pressure moments of games have resulted in some players overreacting to Drake’s trash talking. That was the case with Kendrick Perkins, which resulted in Drake’s first NBA warning and with the Bulls players and coach after he forced a 5-second violation by getting into the ear of the player trying to get the ball in. But that is normally not the case, as players recognize his passion and consider it just a part of the game. All in good fun, a three-time NBA All-Star Draymond Green has indulged in back and forth roasting sessions with Drake, with the former commenting on the rapper’s fashion choices, and the latter ridiculing Green’s jumpshot.

After all, as a superfan of the league, Drake is friends with most of the NBA superstars – Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Steph Curry to name a few. They all know that that pop culture element can only be good for all involved, and Steph Curry was the one who captured it all perfectly:

At the end of the day, he is having fun. You can’t hate on nobody having fun. I guess in this life everybody can hate on someone having fun. It’s par for the court.

Steph Curry,

Has the NBA Warned Drake about Trash Talking?

Even though the league knows and appreciates the added appeal Drake gives to the sport, they were forced to interfere on a couple of occasions when the Canadian rapper crossed even the not so bright line that applies to him. The first warning came on May 1st 2018, after a play-off game which his Raptors lost to LeBron James’ Cavaliers. He was warned about the bad language used in a verbal altercation with the Cavaliers big man Kendrick Perkins. Things even escalated in the tunnel with Perkins even wanting to get his hands on the Canadian. In his defence, Drake later issued on his Instagram account that he only said that he “likes the hem on his capris”

The second warning came after before mentioned play-off series against the Bucks earlier this year, in which he was constantly crossing boundaries. He was stepping on the court, shouting at Giannis Antetokounmpo every chance he got, and to top it all off, he even gave his own coach Nick Nurse a shoulder rub. The commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver was then pressured to react and he issued a statement:

It’s hard to calibrate sometimes exactly where that line is and I think he has a better understanding now of where that line is… there’s been conversations that’s taken place. It’s more just, let’s find where that right line is.

Adam Silver,

Although Drake trash talks, sometimes NBA players get their own back. This was Kevin Durant after the Warriors leveled up the series in the 2019 playoffs. I guess drake could take loss, with the way things turned out.