The NBA Finals have been an exciting series with drama on and off the court. On Monday, Golden State beat Toronto to pull the series to 3-2 Toronto. Unfortunately, it looks like Kevin Durant sustained a terrible injury and could miss possibly next season.
The side story, though, has been the rooting, antics, and trolling by Drake, the superstar entertainer. Drake is a super fan of Toronto and attends most home games along with promoting the Raptors via social media. He has gone as far as rubbing the shoulders of Toronto’s coach during the game. Drake has also taken snide shots at Warrior players in Toronto and also on social media.
Drake doesn’t deserve to get any more attention than any other fan, celebrity or not. It seems disingenuous to write about Drake as I am of the opinion that he should get no attention. I don’t care what he thinks about the game or the Warriors.
Just like I don’t think we should pay attention to actors’ or singers’ opinions on politics. How many times have we heard actors or performers state they will leave the country if a certain person gets elected to political office? Yet, they are still living in the United States.
There has been a long history of celebrities attending sporting events. Sure, we all like to see celebrities in public. Most of the time at basketball games we see them courtside, in baseball behind a dugout or in a suite.
Some of the most noted celebrities that attend professional basketball games have been Jack Nicholson at LA Lakers games and Spike Lee at NY Knicks games. Both attend games frequently and support their team close to the action.
Same goes for college football with Matthew McConaughey, University of Texas; Toby Keith, University of Oklahoma; Kenny Chesney, University of Tennessee; and Will Ferrell, University of Southern California.
There is a difference between Drake and the others. Drake at the Finals has been written about so much that when I did a Google search of him at the Finals, I stopped looking after Page 15 of listed stories of such.
And it’s not his fault. I don’t think he is a villain or a hero. He is just a fan who is enjoying his team and the games. He can be seen as obnoxious if you are not a Toronto fan, but most fans seem obnoxious if they are rooting for their team against your team.
So why is Drake in the spotlight so much, besides the fact that he is highly visible getting caught on camera due to the location of his seat? Because pop culture and sport fans like to create villains, even if he isn’t a villain. This story on Drake is driving page views and impressions and social media content for anyone putting out content.
Drake is also actually driving up his value proposition, wisely staying in the spotlight by his antics on the sideline and his posts on social media. And the Toronto franchise has added value by utilizing Drake as an ambassador.
Some would like to compare Spike Lee to Drake. There are similarities as they both have been active on the sideline, even talking smack to opposing players. However, the difference to me is Drake knows it’s increasing his brand value. Whereas, I think Spike Lee was just a super fan.
In the end, neither should be getting attention because they don’t affect the game and no one should care about what they think regarding basketball. They are just fans.
John Allgood is academic director and assistant professor for the Executive Master of Science in Sport Business program at Temple University in Philadelphia. He originally worked in the sports industry in Oklahoma beginning in 1995.