Rapper Drake’s comments about Kevin Durant at a Toronto concert cost the Raptors $25,000


Rapper Drake looks on during an announcement that the Toronto Raptors will host the NBA All-Star Game in 2016. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Drake is learning the hard way what happens when you become the “global ambassador” for the Toronto Raptors but don’t follow the NBA’s rules. He cost the team $25,000 for saying some things about Kevin Durant that violated the league’s anti-tampering rules at a concert earlier this month, ESPN reports.

Durant reportedly attended Drake’s concert last week in Toronto, where the entertainer said (via ESPN):

“Before we leave, I just want to show one of my brothers something. You know, my brother Kevin Durant was kind enough to come to the show tonight and watch us. I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto. Let him know what would happen.”

Drake then waited while the audience broke out into “KD!” chant.

This would all be fine and good if Drake didn’t have affiliations with the Raptors. But as the team’s “global ambassador,” a formalized position created for Drake last year, he does. No one seems to quite know what Drake does, but it’s something at least slightly substantial considering Drake says he has regular conversations with Tim Leiweke, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports, the entity that owns the team, and Masai Ujiri, the Raptors general manager.

“I communicate almost weekly — I would say daily, but I’m sure we miss some days — but definitely every week … with Tim and Masai. I’m just trying to make this a better, stronger team all around. I have my hands in a lot of different areas right now,” he told the National Post in January before the team held its first “Drake Night.”

Article 35A, section e, of the NBA Constitution outlines the rules of anti-tampering that apply to all people affiliated with an NBA team. It is against the rules “to directly or indirectly:”

i. [E]ntice, induce, or persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any player, coach, GM or other person under contract to any other NBA team to enter into negotiations for or relating to that person’s services or to negotiate or contract for such services…

ii. [O]therwise interfere with the employment relationship between that employee and the other NBA team.”

Earlier this year, three other teams were fined for violating anti-tampering regulations, including the Atlanta Hawks, the Sacramento Kings and the Houston Rockets, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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