drake nick nurse

Drake gave Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse a sideline back rub

Toronto's very own global superstar Drake can proudly call himself many different things: A Grammy-winning rapper, a business mogul, an actor, a director, a producer, a restaurateur — heck, he can change the lights on the CN Tower with a single remark, if he wants to.

What Mr. Aubrey Graham can't say is that he owns, coaches or plays for an NBA team — at least not yet — though he certainly does act like it.

Drake's sideline antics have been the topic of much debate in recent years as the artist grows increasingly bold in what he yells at opposing players from his regular court side seats, especially during high-stakes postseason games.

On Sunday night, the Toront0-born rapper and Raptors brand ambassador was blasted by some (and hailed by others) for consistently trash-talking Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Raptors narrowly won that game in double overtime, pleasing Drake and everyone else in the city.

Whether or not the rapper's actions had an influence on the outcome of that game is hard to determine, but he did pull the exact same kind of stunt (and then some) during Game 4 of the series in Toronto last night.

More interestingly, at least to the people of Twitter, was something Drake did to head coach Nick Nurse in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Toronto was up 96-82 with roughly nine and a half minutes left in regulation clock time, when Drake approached a clapping Nurse and rubbed his shoulders vigorously.

Nurse, whose very job it is to stand on the sidelines and coach players, was so focused on the game that he barely seemed to notice the gesture — though everybody watching TNT last night certainly did.

"If I did what Drake just did at a Raptors game I would be tackled by no fewer than 14 people," wrote one fan on Twitter. Nick Nurse didn't even notice. Time to just [sign] him as assistant coach/hype man and be done with it."

"Why is Drake allowed to walk down the sidelines and rub Nick Nurses back?" wondered another. "Imagine Jack Nicholson doing that to Pat Riley! Drake sit down."

Others pointed out that this wasn't Drake's first interaction with Nurse, himself no stranger to internet attention, during Game 4.

"Drake was standing in front of Nick Nurse multiple times in that first half," commented one Twitter user of Drake's sideline antics. "It's out of control."

Negative reactions to the moment among Bucks fans has prompted a torrent of retaliatory statements from people in Toronto.

"Bucks fans more worried about what Drake does vs. what the Bucks do is hilarious to me. This team is in the ECF and you're obsessing about a celebrity giving an opposing head coach a shoulder rub," wrote one NBA fan.

"The haters complaining about this back rub are reaching man," wrote another. "At worst he's Joe Biden."

People continue today to debate just how much Drake should be able to get away with on the sidelines at home games in Toronto's Scotiabank Arena.

He's a celebrity, sure, but he also owns the team's training centre and has been serving as the Raptors Global Ambassador for years.

"It was irritating when he waved goodbye to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks after Toronto barely survived a double-overtime battle Sunday in Game 3," reads a piece published today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called "Milwaukee totally hates Drake, who doesn't own the Raptors but is somehow allowed to freely roam the court."

"But now, he's reached a new level of clowndom. Is he giving Raptors coach Nick Nurse a massage during the game?" the piece continues. "How is this ... allowed?

It's a valid question, and one that many people have been asking in light of Drake's behaviour at recent games.

Heck, The New York Times just dedicated an entire think piece to the phenomenon.

"Last year, the league spoke to the Raptors about getting him to tone down his antics. He almost got into a fight with Kendrick Perkins, then a reserve centre on the Cleveland Cavaliers," reads that article. "Yes, the N.B.A. has a terrible recent history of fans and players fighting — but what a time to be alive when Drake can get that kind of reaction."

What a time to be alive indeed. The Raptors and the Bucks are now tied 2-2 in the Eastern Conference Final with Game 5 set to take place in Milwaukee on Thursday night.

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