Drake clearly has been enjoying Giannis Antetokounmpo’s struggles during the Eastern Conference finals, but the superstar rapper’s antics are rubbing some people the wrong way.
A day after the Raptors beat the Bucks to tie the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2 – a game in which Drake, sitting in his usual courtside seat in Toronto, was seen laughing when Antetokounmpo missed free throws and at one point even rubbed Toronto coach Nick Nurse’s shoulders — Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer was asked if it was fair that a celebrity received special treatment.
“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 coach — I’m sorry, a player or a coach, that has access to the court,” he said. “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, you know, whatever it is exactly that Drake is for the Toronto Raptors. You know, 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.”
Budenholzer’s comments came after Georgios Dimitropoulos, a senior executive for Octagon who used to be Antetokounmpo’s European agent, tweeted that he had “never seen anything as disrespectful” as Drake’s repeated trolling.
Dimitropoulos later deleted the tweet.
Drake responded to the criticism on social media Wednesday night, first with a series of emojis on Instagram, and then with an Instagram Live post that showed him liking a user’s comment that read in part: “If you don’t want the opposing team to celebrate and dance, prevent them from scoring, winning, or achieving their objective. Get over it and keep moving.”
Antetokounmpo scored 25 points in Game 4 but shot just 6-of-10 from the line and airballed a free throw for the second consecutive contest. He scored just 12 points in Milwaukee’s double-overtime loss in Game 3 and went 2-for-7 from the line.
Antetokounmpo was not asked about Drake after Tuesday’s game, but the star rapper was a hot topic a day later.
“You can’t help but occasionally see Drake just going into timeouts or in and out of timeouts, whether he’s encouraging or cheering for Toronto,” Budenholzer said. “You know, trying to talk to referees. To say I don’t see it at all would be inaccurate, but to say I give it much or any thought, you know, it’s kind of same answer, same mantra. I just tend to ignore and focus on our team, focus on whatever it is we need to be doing.”
In regards to the shoulder rub, Nurse said Wednesday that he didn’t even realize what happened.
“I didn’t even know I got the shoulder rub last night until somebody showed me a picture of it today,” he said. “I didn’t even feel it. I was so locked into the game.”
The series resumes in Milwaukee for Game 5 on Thursday night. But Drake will get one more chance to taunt Antetokounmpo and the Bucks when the series returns to Toronto on Saturday for Game 6.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.
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