'Tonight belongs to Toronto': Drake watches Raptors win at home
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 9:05AM EDT
Canadian rapper Drake would have fit in well celebrating the NBA championship alongside players Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry as one of music’s biggest stars and the Toronto Raptors’ unofficial mascot.
But the self-proclaimed “6 God” watched the NBA Finals victory on home turf Thursday night.
“The fact that Drake chose to watch the game at Jurassic Park instead of court side says a lot about how much he loves the six,” wrote one Twitter user.
Instead of watching from courtside at Oracle Arena, the Raptors “global ambassador” was spotted watching the game from a private area near the Jurassic Park outdoor viewing space near Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto. Instead of popping bottles with NBA royalty, he drove around wearing a Canadian flag under the brim of a “Champions” hat interacting with fans from a car sunroof.
“This is poetic,” he said speaking to reporters after the game. “Tonight belongs to Toronto.” He commended the team for “bringing the chips to the city.”
“I want my chips with the dip, that’s all I know. I don’t want my chips plain. I want my chips with the dip,” he said. “So bring them dips. That dynasty’s over. We did what we had to do.”
Drake, who later announced he plans to release two new songs Friday, has been a major off-court (and courtside) presence during the NBA season. He has faced criticism for his behaviour, which some deemed a distraction. The NBA even reportedly called the Raptors to discuss his sideline antics, including a moment when he rubbed the shoulders of Toronto head coach Nick Nurse.
The rapper wasn’t seen at any away games during the NBA Finals, and while he hasn’t commented about the decision to watch at home, it’s clear Drake may not have received the warmest of welcomes at most opponent arenas. During the series with the Milwaukee Bucks, a local radio station banned his music. Ahead of Game 3 of the series with the Golden State Warriors, the team was heard playing Pusha T’s “The Story of Adidon,” an apparent Drake diss track, during pregame warmups.
Plus, the star has repeatedly been called a bad omen after losses, which some dubbed the “Drake curse.”
Whatever the reason, the rapper was focused on a message of sportsmanship and “love” post-game, including during a call to Warriors star Stephen Curry. “You played your heart out,” he was heard saying during an apparent FaceTime video conversation.
“Send my love,” he said.