A History of Drake's Most Memorable NBA Courtside Moments

Drake is making headlines for his antics at NBA games. Here's a history of his most memorable courtside moments.

drake courtside gregory shamus

Image via Getty/Gregory Shamus

drake courtside gregory shamus

Since becoming the Toronto Raptors’ official global ambassador at the start of the 2013-14 NBA season, Drake has made a name for himself as the league’s most vocal celebrity superfan since Spike Lee. His sideline antics have produced several unforgettable moments (from lint-rolling his attire to nearly fighting Kendrick Perkins) but Drake’s overzealous trolling also has the tendency to rub players the wrong way.

On the heels of the Raptors’ series-tying win over the Bucks in Game 4 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals, Drizzy received some backlash for his courtside tomfoolery as both Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer and Georgios Dimitropoulos (Giannis Antetokounmpo's former European agent) called Drake out. Following a tweet from Dimitropoulos referencing Drake’s courtside antics, Budenholzer offered his own criticism of the 6 God’s behavior, saying there's "certainly no place" for his antics.

"I don't know of any person attending the game that isn't a player or coach that has access to the court," Budenholzer told reporters. "I don't know how much he's on the court. It sounds like you guys are saying a lot [...] There's certainly no place for fans—or whatever exactly is what Drake is for the Raptors—on the court. There's boundaries and lines for a reason. The league is pretty good about that."

Hours later, Drake took to social media and seemingly responded to the criticism with some emojis, including one of a salt shaker. Heading into Game 5 of the Eastern Finals, it's time to run through a history of the greatest courtside moments of Drake’s career.

Game 2, 2014 Eastern First Round (Nets at Raptors): Drake pulls out a lint roller

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Game 2 of the Raptors’ 2014 first round series against the Nets was important for two reasons: It was Toronto’s first playoff win in six years (which in turn kick-started the most successful era in franchise history) and it was the scene for the first and most famous courtside moment of Drake’s career: The Lint Roller. Halfway through the first quarter, cameras caught the 6 God obsessively lint-rolling his black jeans, thus beginning his reign as a meme-generating fixture at Raptors home games.

2016 NBA All-Star Game: Drake photobombs legendary photo

Drake double-teams Bulls' inbounds pass to force 5-second violation pic.twitter.com/X5X8pjUBzM

— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) March 15, 2016

Game 5, 2016 Eastern First Round (Pacers at Raptors): Drake taunts Rodney Stuckey after turnover

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Granted, it’s the poor-man’s Spike Lee vs. Reggie Miller, but Drake and LeBron’s back-and-forth trash talk during the 2016 Eastern Finals was important, if only in hindsight: After Drake heckled him during Game 4—with the Raptors on the verge of tying the series up at two games apiece—LeBron responded by taunting the rapper several times during the Cavs series-ending win in Game 6, en route to sweeping the Raptors in each of the next two postseasons, thus birthing #LeBronto.

LeBron James taunts Drake pic.twitter.com/jQLM1YeBp8

— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) May 28, 2016

Another DeMar J. @drake staredown. Raps up 7. #DrakeNight #RTZ https://t.co/WLcU1cj7Sg

— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) November 17, 2016

November 29, 2017 (Hornets at Raptors): Drake caught mixing drinks on jumbotron

January 13, 2018 (Warriors at Raptors): Drake mocks Kevin Durant after missed dunk


"YOU'RE GETTING BODIED BY 20 TONIGHT" pic.twitter.com/96NjDZ5mlI

— Faizal Khamisa (@FaizalKhamisa) April 18, 2018

With the Raptors up 1-0 in their first round series versus the Wizards, Drake shared a video on Instagram in which he tells John Wall, "John, you’re getting bodied by 20 tonight." Toronto would back his claims, winning the contest 130-119. But the best part of the night came later on, when Drake crossed paths with third-year Wizards forward Kelly Oubre as the cameras caught the rapper calling him "a bum."

Drake letting Kelly Oubre hear it 😳 pic.twitter.com/JtEmTHWnfM

— ESPN (@espn) April 18, 2018

DRAKE VS KENDRICK PERKINS?! OK pic.twitter.com/ecl3VKRBmp

— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 2, 2018

Drake’s interactions with NBA players rarely strayed far from good natured trash talk—until 2018's series between the Cavs and Raptors. During Game 1, things got heated between Drizzy and Cleveland reserve Kendrick Perkins, as players from both teams were heading to their respective locker rooms for halftime. Something then sparked a shouting match between Drake and Perkins, which, after exchanging more words post-game, ended with the rapper allegedly following Perk into the tunnel and calling him names.

Drake and Kendrick Perkins exchanged more words postgame pic.twitter.com/Z0rdXDe1uL

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 2, 2018

KD gave Drake a purple nurple 🤣 pic.twitter.com/V07HEnpOrT

— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 30, 2018

This is the moment that made me believe Drake was being honest when he rapped about “running Golden State practice at his house,” on his 2016 single "Summer Sixteen." While Durant headed off of the floor to the locker room after the second quarter of a regular season matchup with the Raptors, him and Drake had the type of playful interaction that’s reserved only for close friends, as KD responded to the 6 God’s friendly trash talk by giving him a purple nurple.

Drake and Raptors fans troll Embiid as he checked out in the 4th 😅 pic.twitter.com/E7kIEV4Wi4

— ESPN (@espn) May 8, 2019

Drake had some words for the Greek Freak. 👀#NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/1ZsHq1PQ0v

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 20, 2019

Months after donning Giannis’ jersey on his Instagram story, Drake has dropped his bandwagon tendencies and fell back into his role as the Raptors' hype man. After Toronto dropped the first two games of the 2019 Eastern Finals in Milwaukee, Drake dialed up his antics in Game 3 and focused his heckling efforts on the Bucks superstar. Things came to a head when Giannis fouled out in the second overtime of the Raptors’ win, prompting Drake to wave goodbye to the Greek Freak as he headed towards the bench.

Drake stays clowning Giannis at the free throw line 💀 pic.twitter.com/W4iiGg7nMi

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 22, 2019

the Raptors’ series-tying Game 4 win over the Bucks featured the most overzealous Courtside Drake performance to date. Drizzy spent most of the night prancing the sidelines and clowning Giannis, celebrating his free throw misses with sarcastic laughter and mock air guitars. But the most enjoyable moment of the night came when the rapper got up close and personal with Nick Nurse, playfully rubbing the coach’s shoulders in a showcase of appreciation.

Drake wants all the smoke 🤭 pic.twitter.com/BZArq9rP2V

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 24, 2019

Tupac X Kawhi

Drake was ready for Game 6. pic.twitter.com/mmvFfgewPn

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 26, 2019

Looking to celebrate a series-clinching victory in Toronto, Drake showed up wearing a hoodie that said KAWHI ME A RIVER on the back—a subtle shot at the NBA for telling him to quiet down his courtside antics. After the Bucks led for most of the night, the Raptors responded with a 26-3 run to clinch their first Finals berth, at which point Drake was back on his level-ten bullshit. Following a game-sealing dunk from Kawhi Leonard, Drizzy completely lost his mind, so juiced up that he appeared ready to fight the entire Milwaukee bench on site. With the game in the bag, the 6 God waved goodbye to the Bucks, then put an exclamation point on the biggest win in franchise history with another Nick Nurse shoulder rub during the trophy presentation.

"Trash" - Drake pic.twitter.com/MfMZK6R01l

— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) May 31, 2019

Showing up to Game 1 rocking a Dell Curry Raptors’ jersey, Drake ratcheted up his taunting to otherworldly heights. Moments after the Raptors defeated Golden State, Drizzy and Draymond Green engaged in some shit-talking as the Warriors left the floor, with ABC cameras catching Drake yelling what appeared to be “Trash!” in Draymond’s direction.

Hours after the Raptors’ win in Game 1, Drake continued his troll job by posting a video on Instagram of him jawing with Steph Curry, which included a shot of the rapper reaching up to the guard’s hair and grabbing something. Drake then posted a photo of a piece of lint with the caption: “Steph Curry hair lint for sale on my eBay right now!!! Username: DraymondShouldntWear23.”

Drake is rocking the Dell Curry raptors jersey tonight 😂 https://t.co/Kru8ULMkXZ

— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) May 31, 2019

For three consecutive games, Drake let his outfits do the talking. This trend continued in Game 2, as Drake showed up in an all black hooded sweatshirt with Macaulay Culkin’s screaming face from “Home Alone” on it and “Kevin?!?!?!” in yellow letters underneath, which was interpreted as a dig at Durant for missing his seventh straight game due to a calf injury.

The trash talk continued after the game when Kevin Durant was congratulating each Warriors player backstage. Klay Thompson had something to get off his chest when Drake popped up on him and Durant.“See you in the Bay, Aubrey. Weren’t talking tonight were ya? With your bum ass,” Thompson said. Drake responded with a grin: “You played nice tonight.”

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