The Toronto Raptors were fined $25,000 by the National Basketball Association (NBA) for Drake’s comments in one of the rapper's recent concerts where he pitched for Kevin Durant to play for the Canadian squad.
Drake made the recruitment pitch during his performance at the OVO Fest in the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar was in attendance.
"You know, my brother Kevin Durant was kind enough to come to the show tonight and watch us. I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto. Let him know what would happen," declared Drake in the video.
As per the NBA rules, no team or officials of the team is allowed to publicly recruit NBA players who are currently signed with another NBA squad—or simply called, the “anti-tampering rules”
“Tampering is when a player or team directly or indirectly entices, induces or persuades anybody (player, general manager, etc.) who is under contract with another team in order to negotiate for their services. The NBA may impose suspensions and/or fines up to $50,000 if tampering is discovered, however the league's practice has been to wait until a team lodges a complaint before investigating (but that's not to say they don't continue to monitor the league and won't take action independently if they discover that tampering has occurred),” as explained by Larry Coon, one of the popular NBA capologists—or experts in NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) rules.
Drake was named as an official global ambassador of the Raptors in 2013 and as such, the league interpreted the rap artist’s comments as a “recruitment pitch” by a team official and levied the penalty on the Raptors franchise.
Durant is under contract for Oklahoma City through 2016 but teams are already preparing to swoop in and steal the star forward.
Durant is one of the best players in the planet, no one—especially, Canadians—can blame Drake for his act; except probably, the Raptors management, which is now $25K poorer for the premature recruitment pitch.