Drake is a 32-year-old Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, producer and entrepreneur. But these days, he's getting a ton of attention from Millennials and Boomers alike for being the No. 1 fan of his hometown Toronto Raptors, who are one victory away from facing the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
During Toronto home games, Drake sits in his high-priced seat near the Raptors' bench, gesticulating wildly, cheering profusely and, on occasion, being wildly antagonistic to the Raptors' opponent, which in the Eastern Conference Finals happens to be the (favored) Milwaukee Bucks. Drake has even managed to upstage film director Spike Lee, whose court-side antics during New York Knicks home games look tame by comparison.
The Raptors have stunned the basketball world by winning three straight to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, after losing the first two. But the emotion rose to a fever pitch this past week, when Drake took time out during a crucial moment of Game 4 in Toronto to give Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse a massage. That's right, a massage — during a playoff game.
That prompted a hot flash of anger from Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, who frankly may have worsened the situation by ripping Drake publicly, saying there is "no place for fans" on the court during games.
That, of course, poured even more gasoline on the Twitter fire, with Mallory Edens, the daughter of Bucks owner Wes Edens, trolling the rapper during Thursday night's Game 5. Sitting next to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, she wore a T-shirt featuring the likeness of Drake's hated rival, rapper Pusha T. Drake countered by posting the daughter's face on his Instagram page, writing: "All is fair in war and war." You can find it by clicking each page here:
We decided to reach out to Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban, who plays the dual role of being the Mavs' biggest fan, one who expresses himself freely from his own court-side seat. Cuban responded in a poignant email, saying:
"Basketball is entertainment. He works for the Raptors and is having fun, nothing wrong with that. The only downside is when you lose. If you really care, losing is a lot more painful. Winning is fun. It's easy to be hype when things are going well and you are winning. If the team is truly part of him, like the Mavs are part of me, you will see it when they lose a game. If he can just walk it off and it doesn't hurt for a while, then it's not real. It's an act. If he owns the pain of losing, then it's real, and he can show how he loves his bed, his momma and the Raptors."
As for how we feel about Drake, well, we're taking the artistic route. Let us share with you his revised lyrics to a cover of Jackson Browne's "These Days." Browne, who is now 70, wrote the song when he was only 16, which makes its expressions of love and loss all the more surprising. (For another memorable cover of it, check out Nico's in the scene pairing Gwyneth Paltrow and Dallas' own Luke Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums.)
Again, Browne did not write the closing lyrics to the Drake cover of "These Days." Drake did. Vocally, Drake does a wonderful job with a rock classic. He is quite a good singer. As for lyrically, well, he seems to say as much about his own social class in 2019 as he does his state of mind:
"I sit inside a chauffeur car with windows down and count the stars, these days."
If and when the Raptors lose out, however, he may feel like resorting to Browne's original closing lines: "Don't confront me with my failures. I had not forgotten them."
Game 6 in the Bucks-Raptors series is Saturday night, May 25, in Toronto. Game time is 7:30 p.m. on TNT.