For most people who aren’t Toronto Raptors fans and even some people who are, rapper Drake’s sideline antics have made him the most annoying celebrity sideline figure since Spike Lee was in his prime and making a pest of himself at New York Knicks games back in the 1990s.
Lee eventually learned to do the right thing and knock it off, but part of his waning influence was the franchise turning into a pit of despair after Patrick Ewing retired.
The Raptors, however, are enjoying a moment in the sun, winning a pivotal Game 5 over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday to turn a 2-0 series deficit into a 3-2 series lead with a chance to close out the Bucks and reach the franchise’s first NBA Finals on Saturday.
Drake will be there, and TNT’s Charles Barkley, ever the astute observer of bad behavior in basketball, has a suggestion for Milwaukee players.
Barkley said Thursday that if he were still playing and if he were on the Bucks, he’d run Drake over.
“I ain’t worried about no Drake!” 😂
Chuck weighs in on Drake’s antics on the sidelines. pic.twitter.com/yUprcEQBfd
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 24, 2019
“Inside the NBA” colleague Kenny Smith asked him whether he’d be concerned if he were playing and the rapper was doing his courtside shenanigans.
“No,” Barkley said. “But what I would do, I would say, ‘Kenny, do me a favor. Throw the ball out of bounds one time,’ and I’d knock the hell out of Drake.”
“That’s the way we used to do it,” he continued. “When there was a fan giving us a hard time, I’d say, ‘Hey man, lose the ball out of bounds.'”
The live crowd in Milwaukee, where TNT broadcast Game 5, went wild, another sign that nobody in sports broadcasting works a room quite like Charles Barkley.
Drake’s antics have gotten so far out of hand that Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer even mentioned them in a news conference, and Barkley admonished Budenholzer for rising to the bait.
Chuck thinks Mike Budenholzer should worry more about the Raptors instead of Drake
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 24, 2019
Of course, nobody should ever seriously advocate for players attacking fans, even celebrity fans. Down that road lies “Malice in the Palace” stuff, where Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace) attacked fans in the crowd in Detroit during a game between the Pistons and the Indiana Pacers in 2004.
But at the same time, Drake’s efforts to distract the visiting team and act like he’s a member of the home Raptors is getting out of hand.
Drake 1000% thinks he’s on the Raptors pic.twitter.com/zaqiU9JaMl
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) May 22, 2019
If it were some yahoo from Section 302 who wandered down courtside and gave Raptors coach Nick Nurse a massage during a game, the Mounties would be on that fan faster than you could say Dudley Do-Right.
If I did what Drake just did at a Raptors game I would be tackled by no fewer than 14 people …
Nick Nurse didn’t even notice. Time to just him as assistant coach/hype man and be done with it. pic.twitter.com/zDcTpOHzUu
— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) May 22, 2019
In point of fact, the NBA needs to do something.
It could issue a technical foul to the Raptors every time Drake leaves his seat and enters the sideline area designated only for coaches, players and referees and bounded by an invisible line that starts at the front of the scorer’s table and goes around the court.
It could fine the Raptors $25,000 — the same amount a player, coach or team employee gets for, say, criticizing the referees in public — every time Drake enters that previously mentioned designated court area.
Or, if all else fails, the Bucks could follow Barkley’s advice — Eric Bledsoe could throw the ball out of bounds, and Brook Lopez, all 7 feet and 270 pounds of him, could play the role of Sir Charles and blast Drake as if the rapper had walked onto the field of a Green Bay Packers game.
Once again, nobody is seriously saying anyone should really do this — even Barkley, if you pressed him, would probably walk back his position. But a lot of Bucks fans probably wouldn’t be too upset if it happened.
Drake once appeared on “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” one of Canada’s most famous TV shows aimed at young people.
But a certain other Canadian TV icon comes to mind, namely the bus driver on “You Can’t Do That on Television,” whose catchphrase would be appropriate in this situation:
“Sit down and shut up!”
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