Drake Curse? Raptors Are Undefeated in Playoffs When Rap Star is Present

Drake Kawhi Leonard Raptors free agency

Getty Drake reacts during Game One of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on May 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

After heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua lost his title belts in a shocking upset to Andy Ruiz Saturday night, a tired narrative reared its ugly head: it was the Drake curse. The rap star took a photograph with Joshua back in March, which led to jokes about how he’s doomed everyone from Alabama football to the Maple Leafs to Serena Williams with his support.

Here’s the thing, though. The Toronto Raptors, his team de jour during these NBA Playoffs, are undefeated when he is in attendance. (UPDATE: This is no longer the case after Game 2 of the NBA Finals). After missing the first two home games during the first round against the Magic due to a concert tour, he has appeared at seven home games at Scotiabank Arena (all wins).

Let’s take a look at his postseason timeline in 2019.

Raptors 115, Magic 96 (Game 5, Eastern Conference 1st Round)


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After Toronto dispatched the 7th-seeded Magic in five games, Drake quipped to media on his way out of the building: “You want me to talk about the curse or you guys good?”

Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam combined for 51 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in the double-digit triumph to advance to the conference semifinals.

Raptors 108, 76ers 95 (Game 1, Eastern Conference Semifinals)

Per ESPN, Several celebrities were in attendance for the opening win over Philadelphia, including Drake, Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman, Canadian-born Duke basketball star R.J. Barrett, singer Shawn Mendes and actress Elisabeth Moss and new Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

Leonard dominated with a 45-point, 11-rebound double-double. Drake was not listed in attendance for Game 2. He made relatively little social media impact over the first few appearances, but stepped up his trolling game soon after.

Raptors 125, 76ers 89 (Game 5, Eastern Conference Semifinals)

He apparently got under Joel Embiid’s nerves at some point during Game 5. The Sixers big man reportedly confronted Drake after the game and guaranteed that Philadelphia “would be back” for a Game 7.

This is when the rap star started getting superstitious. He performed a “reverse-curse” for the final game of the series. He watched the game from his home while donning 76ers shorts. Leonard drained a fadeaway jumper from the corner to oust Embiid and company, so Drake went to Instagram to post a story of his celebration.

Raptors 118, Bucks 112 (Game 3, Eastern Conference Finals)

Raptors 120, Bucks 102 (Game 4, Eastern Conference Finals)

Raptors 100, Bucks 94 (Game 6, Eastern Conference Finals)

This series deserves its own full section. Vulture recaps his trolling tactics on several Milwaukee players, including Giannis Antetokounmpo during free throws. He even gave a backrub to Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, leading to an emphatic reaction from Bucks head man Mike Budenholzer.

Drake’s boisterous behavior started to get under the skin of certain Bucks, prompting Antetokounmpo’s manager and team coach Mike Budenholzer to call him out for being disrespectful, with Budenholzer saying, “There’s certainly no place for fans and, you know, whatever it is exactly that Drake is for the Toronto Raptors.” Drake did not respond directly, but he did like a tweet implying that people need to get the hell over it. He also posted the liked comment to his Stories.

When the series returned to Milwaukee for Game 5, the daughter of the Bucks owner Mallory Edens wore a Pusha-T shirt to counter-troll Drake, as the two rappers have had a strong beef in the past. The Raptors prevailed in the game, leading to Drake making her his profile pic on Instagram.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver talked about the rap star needing to tone down on his antics, which led to a more reserved viewing experience in the series-clinching victory in Game 6.

Raptors 118, Warriors 109 (Game 1, NBA Finals)

The drama ramped up back to 10 for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. Drake showed up in a Dell Curry Raptors jersey to troll Steph Curry. In addition, as the Warriors walked off the court, the rapper reportedly told Draymond Green that he was “trash.”

He later posted on Instagram to get back at both Curry and Green: “Steph Curry hair lint for sale on my eBay right now!!! username: DraymondShouldntWear23.”

“It’s been entertaining,” Curry told CBS Bay Area. “It’s a tricky situation with him being right there on the court. End of the day, he is having fun. You can’t hate on nobody having fun. I guess in this life everybody can hate on someone having fun. It’s par for the court.”

Drake also has a tattoo of Curry, and has been friendly with Green…so much so that Green actually defended the rap star afterwards.

After all of this madness, the Raptors are undefeated with him in attendance. They will go for 8-0 tonight in Game 2 (8 p.m. EST, ABC).

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