What is the Drake curse? Why is it hitting the NBA? What's Macaulay Culkin got to do with it?

The actor tweeted a picture of the hip-hop star at a basketball game that went viral. One Guardian Australia staffer asked another to explain what it meant ... quickly

First, why is it suddenly a big deal that Drake is at an NBA game?

It is not, in and of itself, significant that Drake was at an NBA game. He is, after all, the most passionate adherent of the great North American celebrity past-time of performatively watching basketball. In fact, he’s become a sort of quasi-mascot for his beloved Toronto Raptors and has been extremely present throughout their journey in this year’s NBA playoffs. He paces the sideline, trash talks opposing players, celebrates annoyingly and sometimes rubs the Raptors coach’s neck.

Other teams do not like it. When the Raptors played the Milwaukee Bucks earlier in the playoffs, the city’s newspaper published an article headlined: “Milwaukee totally hates Drake, who doesn’t own the Raptors but is somehow allowed to freely roam the court.”

It’s just that the stakes are higher right now. The Raptors are in the finals against the Golden State Warriors and it’s really the ultimate test of the Drake curse.

Sorry, what? Drake is cursed?

Yeah, I mean I don’t believe in curses but Drake is obviously cursed.

What’s the Drake curse?

It’s simple: if Drake wears a jersey, poses for a photo with an athlete or in any way appears to be supporting any particular team or person, that team or person will go on to lose, often against the odds.

After Drake posed for a photo with Layvin Kurzawa from the French football giant Paris Saint-Germain, they lost their next match 5-1. It was their worst defeat in nearly two decades. The UFC fighter Connor McGregor lost his fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov after he took a photo with Drake. The Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero met Drake and then missed a penalty in a Champions League game. Seriously, the list goes on and on.

The latest victim was Anthony Joshua, the (now former) heavyweight champion boxer. Going into his last fight Joshua was the overwhelming favourite. His opponent, Andy Ruiz Jr, was an 11-1 underdog, and Joshua was an undefeated superstar.

So confident was Joshua that before the fight he tweeted a photo of himself with Drake along with the caption: “Bout to break the curse.”

He lost the one-sided fight in the seventh round after getting knocked down four times.

Oof, that’s rough. I’m surprised Drake hasn’t been banned from sporting events entirely.

Yeah, well:

All Roma players banned from taking photos with Drake until the end of the season

— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) April 15, 2019

Seems fair. Tell me about the hoodie. Why did he go to a game wearing a jumper saying “KEVIN?!?!?!” with a picture of a Home Alone-era Macaulay Culkin screaming on the back of it? I mean, apart from the fact he’s used way too much punctuation, Home Alone is a film about a kid accidentally left behind from a family holiday while the house gets burgled. That’s hardly good luck?

You could read the jacket as Drake acknowledging the curse’s power, and harnessing it for his own use. Kevin is a reference to Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors star who has missed the first two games of the NBA finals. It’s also, obviously, Culkin, who played Kevin McCallister in Home Alone.

Maybe Drake is trying to direct the curse’s power towards the Warriors. There is precedent for this. Drake was seen wearing a pair of Philadelphia 76ers shorts when the Raptors were playing them during the NBA’s eastern conference semifinals.

It’s more likely, though, that Drake is just being a troll.

Why is it all over the internet though?

In a glorious moment of serendipity, Culkin was actually at the same game as Drake, sitting a few rows behind him and his hoodie. Culkin snapped a pic and uploaded it to Twitter, where it went viral:

Hey @Drake I'm right here, bro. DM me. See you at the BBQ. pic.twitter.com/GTHMKg6LWU

— Macaulay Culkin (@IncredibleCulk) June 3, 2019

Drake made a joke about Culkin, who then made an even funnier joke. The internet loves jokes. Especially when they get meta.

That’s wild.

It’s pretty wild.

I don’t get the barbecue reference though. Who is hosting a barbecue? How do I get an invite?

In the first game of the series Drake trolled the Warriors by wearing the jersey of Steph Curry’s father, who played for Toronto. He then got into what appeared to be a heated exchange with a Warriors’ player, Draymond Green, after the game. It seemed like maybe they really didn’t like each other!? But then it came out that after the game that they both met up at a fancy Toronto restaurant and are actually pals.

So even though Culkin is trolling Drake trolling the Warriors, they are all still friends in the end. Aww.

So did Drake’s team lose the game?

Not only did they lose the game but afterwards Durant was filmed giving Drake a hard time.

“See you in the Bay, Aubrey,” he said. “You weren’t talking tonight, were you?”

Drake appears to respond, “It’s 1-1” – a reference to the seven-game series now being level. It really will be the ultimate test of the Drake curse.


Michael McGowan explains it to Stephanie Convery

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
'Drake curse': Canadian star vindicated after Raptors' NBA championship win
Prior to the victory over the Golden State Warriors, many had fallen victim to the music star’s reputation for bringing bad luck

Miranda Bryant

14, Jun, 2019 @7:58 PM

Article image
Drake warned by NBA over bad language at basketball game
Canadian rapper claims ‘I just said I liked the hem on his capris’ after verbal tussle with Cleveland Cavaliers player Kendrick Perkins

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

04, May, 2018 @9:31 AM

Article image
Drake's Toronto superfandom: annoying, ludicrous and completely understandable
The rapper has spent the last six weeks making the Raptors’ playoff run about him rather than the team, but celebrity fans are part of the NBA’s heritage

Aaron Timms

30, May, 2019 @8:03 AM

Article image
NBA finals: Warriors beat Raptors in Game 5 thriller to keep series alive
The Toronto Raptors had a great chance to secure their first-ever NBA title until a late surge from the Golden State Warriors decided the game

Joshua Kloke at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

11, Jun, 2019 @4:05 AM

Article image
US senator asks Canada to protect Erdoğan critic Kanter during NBA finals
The NBA playoffs have been swept up in diplomatic drama, with US senator Ron Wyden expressing concern for the safety of Portland Trail Blazers player Enes Kanter

Guardian sport

14, May, 2019 @8:28 PM

Article image
Drake v Bucks feud grows as Milwaukee turns its ire on rapper's courtside antics
As the Toronto Raptors have made their way through the NBA playoffs, casual viewers may have wondered if Drake was coaching the team rather than Nick Nurse

Guardian sport

22, May, 2019 @6:27 PM

Article image
'This means everything to the city': Toronto parties as Raptors clinch NBA title
Kawhi Leonard and his teammates brought home the city’s first-ever NBA championship. And their achievement was celebrated across Canada

Leyland Cecco in Toronto

14, Jun, 2019 @4:01 PM

Article image
Toronto Raptors' success gives Canadian sports fans a rare feeling: hope
The team are one victory away from their first-ever NBA title. And many in Toronto see basketball as representative of a diverse, global city

Leyland Cecco in Toronto

09, Jun, 2019 @2:28 PM

Article image
NBA finals: Curry's 47 points in vain as Raptors beat limping Warriors in Game 3
The Raptors did what so many teams have struggled to do before them: beat the Warriors in their own backyard

Melissa Rohlin at Oracle Arena, Oakland

06, Jun, 2019 @3:51 AM

Article image
The Raptors froze against the Warriors, but the title stays theirs to lose
A head-scratching timeout by Toronto may have swung the outcome of Game 5, but the Raptors remain favorites to win the NBA title with Kevin Durant gone for good

Oliver Connolly

11, Jun, 2019 @3:00 PM