Drake is to his hometown NBA finalists the Toronto Raptors what Spike Lee represents to the Knicks, Jack Nicholson to the Lakers and Billy Crystal to the Clippers: a super-fan who stalks the sidelines, trolling rivals (the Golden State Warriors for the foreseeable future) and occasionally giving his team’s first-year coach Nick Nurse a light back massage.
Thanks to his antics – which included wearing an old-school Raptors jersey with the name of Warriors’ star Steph Curry’s dad Del and making fun of the sharpshooter’s hair – Drake has become enemy No. 1 among Warrior fans and now that includes San Francisco media as well.
Urban Adult Contemporary station KBLX has virtually eliminated Drake from its playlist. According to Mediabase, three Drake songs in regular rotation saw significant drops in the past two weeks – “In My Feelings” went from two plays to one, “Passionfruit” from six plays to zero and “One Dance” from three to zero, while “Hold On We’re Going Home” with Majid Jordan went from four plays to none. Overall Drake dropped from a ranking of 56 to 314 on the station’s airplay chart. (For context, the most played artist on the station is Whitney Houston, averaging nearly 50 spins on a weekly basis; of contemporary acts, Ella Mai ranks fourth most-played.)
KBLX program director Elroy Smith makes no apologies on his decision, telling Variety: “The Golden State Warriors will 3-PEAT. Our listeners are in absolute support of the station’s decision to ban all Drake music until the NBA finals are had by Stephen Curry and the Warriors. Our social media is blowing up with reaction from both Raptors and Warriors fans. Raptors fans are steadfast and supportive of their team. Drake started it by disrespecting the Warriors. His taunting toward the Warriors must stop.”
The station’s trolling tactic has been to start-stop Drake songs then flip to voices of Warriors players mashed up with Queen’s “We are the Champions.”
But Warriors star Klay Thompson isn’t sure banning Drake from the airwaves is a good idea. “I’ve been a fan since I was in high school,” he told local TV station KPIX. “If it’s one of his softer R&B songs, like ‘Hotline Bling,’ I’ll skip it because I’m in kill mode right now trying to get these four games.”
Thompson was sidelined for Game 3 with a hamstring strain, but hoped to return for the next game.
Toronto leads the NBA Finals two games to one over the Warriors, seeking their third title in a row and their fourth in the last five years, with the fourth game scheduled for tonight in Oakland at 6pm PT on ABC.