NBA spoke with Raptors about Drake’s courtside behavior

TORONTO — The NBA talked with the Toronto Raptors about Drake’s courtside behavior during the Eastern Conference finals, a league spokesman confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.

During the series, Drake rankled Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer by often standing and cheering for the Raptors. His seat is on the sideline near Toronto’s bench, not far from halfcourt. During Game 4, Drake gave Raptors coach Nick Nurse a brief shoulder massage.

"I will say, again, I see it in some timeouts, but I don't know of any person that's attending the game that isn't a participant in the game — a player or a coach — who has access to the court," Budenholzer said the day after Game 4. "I don't know how much he's on the court. It sounds like you guys are saying it's more than I realize.

"There's certainly no place for fans and whatever it is exactly that Drake is for the Toronto Raptors. To be on the court, there's boundaries and lines for a reason, and like I said, the league is usually pretty good at being on top of stuff like that."


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In 2013, the Raptors gave Drake the official title of global brand ambassador, and the Raptors have partnered with Drake’s OVO brand (record label, apparel, music festival) on multiple initiatives. The team’s practice facility is the OVO Athletic Centre.

This isn’t the first time the league stepped into to address Drake’s sideline antics. Last season during the conference semifinals against Cleveland Cavaliers, Drake got into a shouting match with Cleveland’s Kendrick Perkins. The two had to be separated. The NBA issued Drake a warning.

SportsPulse: Even though the NBA Finals gets underway Thursday, there's no doubt Kevin Durant and Kawhi Lenoard's looming free agency decisions have more intrigue and lasting impact on the league landscape.

"I like having Drake on the sideline," Raptors guard Norman Powell said. "He's a great supporter. It's kind of funny how much his love and passion for the game and for the team really affected the opponents.

"Having the opposing coaches come out and talk about what he's doing and how he shouldn't be allowed to do all that, you can see that it's probably bothering them a little bit. But he's staying within the rules, so I don't see a problem with it. I love what he's doing."

Game 1 of the NBA Finals between Toronto and Golden State is Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ABC).

As of now, the Warriors aren’t bothered by Drake.

"It's been entertaining," Warriors star Steph Curry told reporters Monday in Oakland. "I know it's a tricky situation with him being right there on the court, but at the end of the day, he's having fun. You can't hate on nobody having fun. Well, I guess in this life everybody hates on people having fun. So it's par for the course on that one."

ESPN first reported the league talked with the Raptors about Drake.

Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.

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