Is the NBA Set to Fine the Toronto Raptors Again Over Drake?
Oct 17, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Recording artist Drake (who represents the Toronto Raptors) practices with the Kentucky Wildcats team during Big Blue Madness at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Two weekends ago, the University of Kentucky hosted their annual Midnight Madness – better known as Big Blue Madness – basketball event, to officially welcome in the 2014-15 season. While the Kentucky Wildcats boast a star studded lineup of five-star recruits, the biggest star in Rupp Arena was none other than Toronto Raptors “global brand ambassador,” Drake.
Since Drake is a big basketball fan, and his love for the Wildcats is no secret, he decided to not only show up for Big Blue Madness, but participate in the event as – I guess you can call him – a celebrity player.
Unfortunately for Drizzy, his participation indicated to us that he is definitely not “Steph Curry with the shot” on the court, as he air balled a three-point attempt.
Clearly, shooting jump shots with future NBA stars is not Drake’s strong suit.
However, being the Toronto Raptors’ “global brand ambassador” does not appear to be his strong suit either. By participating in an event involving future NBA players – like 95 percent of the Kentucky roster is composed of – Drake directly violated the NBA’s Prospective Draftees rules:
"7.04 Contact with Prospective Draftees:Members may not, directly or indirectly, have or engage in, or attempt to have or engage in, any discussions, communications, or contacts whatsoever with any player who has remaining intercollegiate basketball eligibility or is otherwise ineligible to be selected in an upcoming Draft; provided, however, that the foregoing shall not apply to discussions, communications, or contacts between a Member and any player who was previously eligible to be selected in an NBA Draft."
Although much of the rules interpretation is subjective in regards to Drake’s activity at Big Blue Madness, this is not the first time the NBA has warned Drake about such activity.
Drake earned the Raptors a $25,000 fine for “recruiting” Kevin Durant during his OVO Fest concert in August. Although that was Drake’s first official fine, rumours of the NBA apparently warning Drake about his activity with Kentucky basketball players dates back to 2011, when Jay-Z was in the spotlight for hanging out with Kentucky basketball players.
Jan 11, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Canadian recording artist Drake addresses the media during a press conference before a game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
While the harmful nature of these type of events is debatable, there is no denying that clearly there is some sort of disconnect between Drake and the rules set forth as a member of an NBA organization.
Whether he cares he’s breaking the rules, or if the Raptors know he is, or if the Raptors strategically know he is and don’t care, is an entirely different discussion.
Regardless of what the Toronto Raptors know, the influence Drake holds within mainstream media is noteworthy. I mean, it’s not just like Drake is introducing the Wildcats players and shooting a few air balls with them. He’s introducing them, shooting with them, hanging out in the locker room with them, and even greeting them as they enter the arena.
Of course that will draw attention.
Although it may appear to be harmless fun with a bunch of larger than life college basketball stars, it still classifies as tampering when you are a part of an NBA organization.
The NBA waited 11 days to fine the Raptors for Drake’s OVO pitch of Durant, so even though it has been 14 days since Big Blue Madness took place, I would not rule a fine out just yet.
Ultimately, if Drake is going to remain connected to the Raptors organization, the team has to make sure he knows his boundaries. It’s not like the Commissioner of Hip Hop is going to fine Drake for his actions, nor will NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fine Drake. No, instead, the NBA will fine the Toronto Raptors, leaving the organization high and dry to flip the bill of Drake’s celebrity lifestyle fun.
What do you think, Raptors fans? Does Drake need to reassess his stance with the Toronto Raptors organization? Or are his actions blown out of proportion? Let us know in the comments section below.