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Sunday, April 14, 2024

The sports world continues to be plagued by ‘The Drake Curse’

International music icon supposedly dooms teams by repping gear, posing with star players

Since being dubbed the “global ambassador” of the Toronto Raptors in 2013, Canadian hip-hop artist Drake has brought excitement, glamour and swagger to the lone Canadian team in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Boosting the charisma of a young, surging team has largely coincided with unquestioned success — with the exception of the actual playoffs. Although on the surface it would appear Drake was a catalyst to the Raptors’ success since officially joining their organization, history has progressively portrayed the opposite.

From 2013 to the present day, there has been a rising trend surrounding teams or athletes seen with the Toronto-born star and their subsequent failures. This phenomena began as a joke on social media, poking fun at both the rapper and the losing team, but has now evolved into a transcendent curse that haunts the sports world. Currently, there are some professional sports teams, most notably AS Roma, who quite literally forbid their players from interacting or taking any photos with the rapper. But how exactly did Drake become so doomed by the sports gods?

Although the Drake Curse snowballed into a spectacle that is as far fetched as it is precise, it began quite simply with Drake cheering on an old friend who believed and supported him before he was the sensation he is today: University of Kentucky men’s basketball Head Coach John Calipari. 10 years ago, Calipari, who was far more well-known than Drake at the time, let Drake perform during occasional Wildcat games. The two have since been constant supporters of each other, so much so that after Kentucky won a National Championship in 2012, Drake gifted the team with engraved rings. But since then, the Wildcats have yet to win another title.

In 2015, Serena Williams was on the verge of capturing a grand slam, the most illustrious award in tennis. In the semi-finals match of the final tournament, with Drake in attendance, Williams suffered a career-worst upset in the US Open that will forever be one of the most notorious upsets in tennis and sports history. Striving to achieve the fourth-ever calendar-year singles Grand Slam for a female player in tennis history, Williams shockingly fell short to the 43rd ranked player in the world.

The University of Kentucky is not the only college team whose fate Drake has possibly had a hand in. This past January, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide unsurprisingly made it to the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game to take on the Tigers of Clemson University. The team’s official Twitter account posted a video of Drake repping Bama gear and speaking encouragingly to the Crimson Tide players before the game. The curse, however, got the best of the Alabama team, as they went on to lose to the Tigers 44-16 — one of Bama’s worst losses in team history, and the worst loss under the Nick Saban Era.

Somehow, those are not the only two historic upsets that Drake has been directly linked to. Last year, he walked out with professional fighter Conor McGregor before his bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 236, draping a long Irish flag across his body and around his back like a cape. As per usual, the curse kicked in and McGregor looked like anything but a superhero and suffered one of the worst beatdowns of his career.

Recently, Drake attended the Toronto Maple Leafs Game 7 of the opening round of the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs, only to bring upon an inevitable, excruciating defeat.

Drake seemed to acknowledge the curse and his undeniable reflection of all things unlucky when he wore a custom sweatshirt that featured the logos of all four National Football League (NFL) teams competing in the 2019 AFC and NFC Championship games. However, his outgoing support of players and teams has yet to cease. As he has grown older and wiser, however, he has had the self-realization that if any team he associates himself becomes cursed, why not just reverse the curse?

At this year’s NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals, the top-selling artist decided to fully embrace the mind-boggling voodoo and take matters into his own hands. When his Toronto Raptors made it to the final game of the series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Drake wore 76ers shorts while watching Game 7. Drake’s trick could not have worked better, as the Toronto team ended up beating the 76ers with the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard sinking a a heart-wrenching, time-stopping, buzzer-beating shot that bounced on the rim three times before falling in. This gave the Raptors and Leonard the first ever game 7 buzzer beater in NBA history.

After the game’s thrilling end, Drake logged onto Instagram, where he posted a video flashing the camera between his TV’s screen that showed the end score of the game in Toronto’s favor, and the logo on his 76ers basketball shorts. Toronto is now battling it out in the Eastern conference finals, where Drake and Raptors fans alike hope with all their might that Drake can continue to control the curse — at least until the end of the playoffs.

Written by: AJ Seymour — sports@theaggie.org


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