NEW YORK, N.Y. – The NBA is refuting a Globe and Mail report that suggested the league offered to drop a tampering fine issued to the Toronto Raptors if the team removed Drake’s title of global brand ambassador.
The league recently fined the team after Drake, a popular Toronto rapper, let Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant know he was wanted in Canada during a concert that the Thunder star attended earlier this month. During the performance, Drake shouted to his hometown crowd to show the league’s MVP what it would be like if he came to play for the Raptors, causing a loud ovation.
“As the Raptors’ global ambassador, Drake must follow our anti-tampering rules,” Tim Frank, the league’s senior vice-president of basketball communications, said in an email to The Canadian Press on Wednesday. “At no point did we suggest his title be removed but we were clear that as long as he acted as a representative of the team, he is subject to the league’s rules.”
Durant can become a free agent after the 2015-16 season. He has spent his entire career with the Thunder franchise.
The Raptors declined comment Wednesday.
Drake, who grew up a Raptors fan and calls some of the league’s biggest stars his close friends, was formally introduced as the global brand ambassador of Canada’s lone NBA team last September.
At the time, he said he travels the world preaching the “gospel that is Toronto,” grew up following the Raptors, and called the Vince Carter era the source of his best basketball memories.