Like any Toronto Raptors fan, Drake had a crush on Kawhi last year.
He has Kawhi Leonard's No. 2 jersey framed and hung in his recently completed mansion in the fashionable Bridle Path district of Toronto, where the music star lives alone and thinks about his feelings, of which there are undoubtedly many and varied.
It is a kind of opulent palace in which no detail is too small. For example: Drake's toilet seats automatically rise as if from an invisible hand. Music plays while pooping.
So it is safe to assume that Leonard's Raptors jersey did not accidentally jump on the wall. It wasn't filler because Drake and his people ran out of ideas after decorating the Owl logoed basketball court in full size.
Obviously, Drake felt for Kawhi. But Kawhi is a calculating guy who breaks the heart of San Antonio north of the 49th parallel.
When Leonard was in Toronto for his meeting with Raptors executives Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster, where his flight from the airport was followed by news helicopters and broadcast live, he and his friends celebrated with Drake that night.
And when Kawhi needed a crash pad in Los Angeles – the MVP's newly bought mansion for the 2019 final is closer to San Diego – Drake said: "Use my space."
In a perfect Raptors world, Leonard would have returned all the damned sincerity by signing again with Drake's favorite NBA team and defending their NBA championship.
But nobody knows heartache and unrequited love like our Aubrey. Contrary to what the rest of us hope, his tendency to share his separation pain is a lucrative part-time job.
And when Leonard decided – or maybe knew all along – that he would sign his next deal to play for the Clippers in Los Angeles instead of returning to Toronto, all Drake could do was philosophical about it his.
"Look, you can never forgive a man for wanting to go home, that's pretty much the easiest thing I can say," the superstar musician said in a lengthy interview with Rap Radar recently. "But yes, it hurt … I really believe that with Kawhi, who stays here and maybe makes a little move, we could run back and have a real counter-counter relationship. It hurts. "
All of this is relevant again because in an ESPN.com story by Ramona Shelburne about how Paul George came to Leonard on the Clippers, it sounds like an unsuspecting Drake was played. That he pushed himself all the way out and his heart was beating.
The passage that revolved around social media at the speed of light and searched for the old wounds of Raptors fans was as follows:
There were countless text messages and phone calls, and then two face-to-face meetings at Drake's house in Hidden Hills, California. (Drake had made friends with Leonard during his Toronto season and had Leonard – who lives in San Diego – stay there when he was in Los Angeles to meet with agents.)
According to Shelburne, the second of the two meetings took place after Leonard flew back to Los Angeles on the MLSE business jet.
In other words, the deal that dissolved the Raptors Championship team was made by Leonard at Drake's LA home.
Well, this doesn't seem to be a case of Drake flip-flop loyalties that, to be fair, are known to do in sports and in other ways.
When it was speculated that Drake had somehow played a role in Leonard & # 39; s departure by providing the Clippers with a safe house where they could carry out their spying campaign for years, Shelbourne had a need to clarify: Drake was cheated on, he had no idea Kawhi was holding meetings at his home in LA. It was as if an Airbnb user had broken the no-pet rule.
My understanding is that he just lets him stay there. I don't think he had any idea who he was meeting. Think Air BnB!
– Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 15, 2020
Anyway, at the moment we have no word from Champagne Papi about Leonard, who takes advantage of his hospitality.
Maybe he just lets it go. Perhaps he is listening to music in his bathroom – one of them – and thinking about the album he will write about it.
Drake's influence on the Raptors' affairs is difficult to quantify. It is clear that after seven years, any idea that he could somehow recruit players to Toronto – the still hope when the relationship started in 2013/14 – was far over the top, even if it was never said.
But it's also not like he's a pretended friend who likes to brag about a connection while everyone else rolls his eyes.
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When the Raptors won game 5 of their second round against the Milwaukee Bucks in Fiserv Forum, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet were faced with FaceTiming in the Raptors' dressing room. It was Drake who hosted their championship in Las Vegas. It was Drake who sat next to Leonard in the double-decker bus at the championship parade.
Drake's connection was real and he delivered all the memes, third jerseys, court drafts, and social media buzz that any self-respecting franchise could ever want.
He just couldn't save Kawhi. It's probably not his fault.
As it turns out, the ice that Leonard runs through when he wins against the Philadelphia 76ers in a row isn't just shut down.
One might think that if Leonard wanted to negotiate his way out of Toronto, he would have the decency to rent a suite in Beverly Wilshire, or at least get the over-excited Microsoft guy who owns the Clippers to settle the bill ,
But he chose Drake's place.
There is no doubt another scar on Aubrey's ever-pulsating heart muscle.
Not the first or the last. Being a Raptors fan – a super fan with benefits – means getting hurt every now and then.