Basketball: Raptors superfan Drake confronts Warriors stars at NBA Finals

Drake reacts during Game One of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Warriors and the Raptors.
Drake reacts during Game One of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Warriors and the Raptors.PHOTO: AFP

TORONTO, Canada (AFP) - Toronto Raptors rap-star superfan Drake taunted Golden State stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson during the Canadian club's victory over the defending champion Warriors to open the NBA Finals.

Drake, a Toronto native who is a courtside regular at Raptors games, exchanged words with Green as Golden State walked off the court following Toronto's 118-109 victory Thursday in the best-of-seven series opener.

"It really don't bother me - Drake talking on the sideline, so many people make a big deal out of it," Green said Friday (May 31).

"It is what it is. He's a fan. He talks and it gets more attention because he's Drake."

Drake was wearing an old Raptors jersey of Curry's father, Dell Curry, who played for the Raptors and retired in Toronto. He picked at Stephen Curry's hair when the two had a brief courtside chat during a timeout.

And he seranaded Thompson with one of his more mellow songs that the Warriors guard said he wouldn't play now, despite being a Drake fan, because he was "in kill mode right now trying to get these four games".

The confrontations came in the wake of the NBA having a discussion with Drake about his antics after he rubbed the shoulders of Raptors coach Nick Nurse during an Eastern Conference finals playoff game against Milwaukee.

The most intense moments of Drake's latest escapades came when Green, walking off the court, yelled at Drake, who responded with choice words of his own in a confrontation that never became physical.

"It wasn't really a scuffle because I didn't hit him and he didn't hit me, and I didn't push him and he didn't push me," Green said.

"We talked. We barked a little bit, but I wouldn't necessarily consider that a scuffle."

Green also was the first to defend Drake for being able to interact more with players than the usual fan, even another courtside ticket buyer.

"So many people are complaining about it, like, 'You don't let any other fan do that,'" Green said Friday.

"Yeah, any other fan is just not Drake, so they probably shouldn't be able to do that.

"That's just kind of how the cookie crumbles. He's worked his ass off to be who he is. We all know when you do that, you get more leash than others.

"There's so much talk the NBA needs to (take action). No, they don't. He worked to be who he is. You should get more leash. But I don't mind it. It's fun for me."

Drake wore a band on his left arm to cover tattoos he sports with the names and numbers of Curry and injured Golden State star forward Kevin Durant.

Curry went to speak to Drake during a timeout, when the rapper picked what was described as a piece of lint from Curry's hair.

Thompson had said on the eve of game one he would skip Hotline Bling and Drake's "soft R&B songs" to stay intense for the finals.

So after a technical foul was whistled against Thompson in the fourth quarter, Drake sang Hotline Bling as the Warriors guard walked past him.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he liked how his team handled the intense atmosphere of Toronto fans without mentioning Drake.

"Our guys responded well. We're used to playing on the road, hostile environments, all that," Kerr said. "I don't think we played our 'A' game... but the crowd will never have anything to do with that with this team.

"The Canadian fans are so nice that even when they're harassing us they do it in a very polite manner."

NBA DREW LINE FOR DRAKE

Before the game, NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained how the league had spoken with Drake, an official ambassador for the Raptors, about his actions, not wanting to encourage other fans who might want to copy such actions.

"The league office had conversations directly with Drake and his manager and I think we ended up in a good place," Silver said. "We certainly appreciate his superfan status.

"Certainly we don't want fans, friend or foe, contacting an NBA coach during a game... I think those can lead to dangerous situations.

"We understood that in this case, given Drake's relationship to the team, it's not the same as just any fan who happened to be courtside touching a coach.

"But at the same time I think there are appropriate lines that shouldn't be crossed in terms of how a competing team is addressed."