NBA denies offer to drop fine if Raptors fire Drake; Drizzy calls out ESPN panelist [News]
Toronto, ON – New developments in the Drake x Kevin Durant x Toronto Raptors getting fined saga. The NBA has denied a claim by a Globe and Mail article suggesting the league offered to wave the tampering fine they issued to the Toronto Raptors if the team agreed to drop Drake as their Global Ambassador.
“As the Raptors’ global ambassador, Drake must follow our anti-tampering rules. At no point did we suggest his title be removed but we were clear that as long as he acted as a representative of the team, he is subject to the league’s rules,” Tim Frank, the NBA’s Senior Vice-President of Basketball Communications, said in a statement to The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
Drake invited Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant to OVO Fest this year, and during the concert he asked Toronto fans to give the NBA MVP a sample of the type of support he’d receive if he ever found himself as a member of the Raptors organization.
“You know, my brother Kevin Durant was kind enough to come to the show tonight and watch us,” said Drake. “I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto. Let him know what would happen.”
The crowd erupted, and that was that.
But Durant is only a free agent in 2016, and the NBA decided Drake, an official Toronto Raptors rep, was in violation of their anti-tampering policies, and thus came the ensuing fine. But the amount is peanuts compared to the type of lucrative scenario the team will be in with a star like Durant amongst their ranks. Drake is part of the Raps organization – without a salary, for that matter – to build the team’s profile, and to create a bigger draw for players to come to play in Toronto. Recruitment. It sounds like he’s doing just that, and well.
In terms of the NBA allegedly making that offer? As you’ve seen, the league said it didn’t happen, but (without naming sources) The Globe and Mail’s report presented it as fact:
“This has risen beyond the level of a spat. It’s an executive knife fight. Raptors officials would not comment on the Drake versus NBA situation. They are plainly loath to make their secret war public. They also refused to address a key detail – that the NBA offered to drop the tampering fine if the team agreed to strip Drake of his title. The Raptors apparently refused.”
— Kevin B. Blackistone (@ProfBlackistone) August 12, 2014
On top of those Globe and Mail claims, ESPN panelist Kevin Blackistone showed he was familiar with more than one Canadian rapper by feeling the need to say that had he been in charge of the Raps, he would have chosen Shad to be his Global Ambassador. We love Shad, and that’s a certainly a nice plug for the JUNO Award-winner, but it fails to recognize Shad’s lack of Toronto nativity, or his lack of fandom for the Toronto Raptors. Shad’s love for basketball is well-known, and references can be found throughout his lyrics, but his allegiance to the team is less than Drake’s. He might have jumped on the wagon since, but back in 2010 Shad was asked by the National Post if he was a fan, and his answer was quite clear:
“I’m actually not, which is weird. I want to be but I’ve never really been a team type of guy. Growing up in London, we were in between Toronto and Detroit, so I never had any specific team loyalties. I’ve always been more of a player guy.”
All in all, the claim by Prof. Blackistone might suggest an underlying issue with Drake, or with Drake’s role with the team. It’s a position Drake had no problem addressing on Twitter:
“Did Kevin Blackistone really just ask why Shad or the other ‘dancehall rappers’ aren’t the Global Ambassador? Haaa stop the madness.”
Did Kevin Blackistone really just ask why Shad or the other "dancehall rappers" aren't the Global Ambassador? Haaa stop the madness.
— Drizzy (@Drake) August 13, 2014
We’re big fans of both artists, but to suggest that Shad has the same international reach that the Raptors have already benefited from through Drake is a massive reach on it’s own. He could have simplified things by just stating he was a Shad fan, as we all know there are plenty of reasons to be one.
All in all, it’s now Kevin Durant’s opinion we’re interested in hearing most, but that’s likely not available without another fine from the NBA coming with it. However, KD did send a shout-out after returning to OKC on Aug. 5:
“I love the 6. Thanks @drake, nikko, chubs, future, P Reign and the rest of the crew. Y’all showed so much love. Back in the 405!!!”
I love the 6. Thanks @drake, nikko, chubs, future, P Reign and the rest of the crew. Y'all showed so much love. Back in the 405!!!
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) August 5, 2014
Written by Jesse Plunkett for HipHopCanada
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Twitter: @Drake | @ShadKMusic | @Raptors | @ProfBlackistone