“Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous/Cause we want to be them, and they want to be us.”
Those lyrics come from “Thank Me Now,” the final track on Drake’s 2010 debut album, Thank Me Later, and they’ve set the tone for the Champagne Papi’s relationship with sports since we first heard them. From the moment he’s entered the public eye, Drake has embraced the Venn diagram that exists between music and sports by doing everything he can to be a part of both, so much so that his fandom has become a meme.
Drake finagles his way into sports whenever the opportunity has presents itself. He began a close relationship with the University of Kentucky, most famously taking the opportunity to airball a three-pointer during the Wildcat’s Big Blue Madness season-opening event in 2014 and eventually getting the university an NCAA violation. Recently, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has apparently become one of Drake’s best friends, and he’s embodied the idea of being the Raptors unofficial mascot so intensely that he’s earned the scorn of LeBron James over it. He hosted the 2014 ESPYs and the 2017 NBA Awards, and even coached a team in the Celebrity Game.
In addition to literally inserting himself into any and all sports happenings he finds himself around, Drake has taken an only slightly less invasive approach when slipping sports references into his lyrics. At the drop of a hat, he’ll mention his weekends at Steph Curry’s house or his friendship with Beckham Jr., and even pay homage to some of Canada’s greats. Though his affinity for sports can get annoying, you’ve gotta hand it to Drizzy: he’s a dedicated fan who shows love to the players who make each game so great. Here are Drake’s best sports rap references.