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NBA Finals: Barack Obama Outshines Drake in Rapper’s Hometown

By Chris Parker

LOS ANGELES (Variety) – Drake doesn’t often find himself upstaged — particularly in his hometown of Toronto, where the Raptors reside and the rapper holds the title of “global ambassador” for the team — but it’s not often that a former U.S. President attends an game.

On June 2, Barack Obama arrived at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena in a leather jacket and exchanged a hug, handshake and a few words with before Game 2 against the Golden State Warriors. An equally passionate hoops fan, Obama caught his hometown Chicago Bulls’ 2015 season opener at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but hadn’t been to an NBA playoff game since at least before his election.

The visit, announced only a few hours before the game, was reportedly planning to feature Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who decided instead to stay home. Perhaps he was worried about being outshined too. Obama received not only a standing ovation, but was regaled with an “MVP” chant by the Canadian crowd.

As for Drake’s broadcast behavior, he didn’t draw nearly as much attention to himself as he did during Game 1, after which he exchanged words with Warriors forward Draymond Green, seemingly calling him and/or the team “trash.” The rapper was barely mentioned during the broadcast. And it didn’t go unnoticed, with the Warriors’ Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant gleeing in their team’s win 109 – 104 and taking an opportunity behind the scenes to clap back at Drake.

“See you in the Bay, Aubrey,” yelled Thompson (referencing Drake’s real name) as his teammates headed to the locker room after the game. Thompson had left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and was walking around afterwards with a huge bag of ice strapped to his leg. “You weren’t talking tonight, were ya? Bum ass,” he added. “That was light work too.”

Drake had shown up to the game in a T-shirt bearing the image of Macaulay Culkin in “Home Alone.” Under it was written, “Kevin?!?!?”, a reference to Kevin Durant who missed his second game of the series with a sore calf muscle. When Durant might return is a question, though he is expected back before the series concludes.

Culkin wanted in on the fun, too, tweeting to Drake during the game, “DM me. See you at the BBQ.”

Drake, who has Durant and Steph Curry’s numbers tattooed on his arm, hasn’t revealed if he will make the trip to Oracle Arena in Oakland on Wednesday for Game 3.

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