Toronto Raptors team ambassador Drake apparently used his notorious “Drake curse” to his advantage Sunday night while the team beat the Philadelphia 76ers in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The rapper has a reputation of being a bad luck charm for sports teams after posing for pictures with athletes or wearing team merchandise. Manchester City lost in the Champions League after Drake posted a photo with Sergio Aguero earlier in 2019.
So it appeared on Sunday night, as his Raptors took on the Sixers hoping to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals, Drake watched the game from afar at his Toronto house.
Clearly aware of his own “Drake Curse,” the hip-hop superstar posted a video to his Instagram showing him watching Leonard’s dramatic game 7 buzzer beater – while wearing Philadelphia 76ers shorts.
On the play itself, Leonard took an inbound from Marc Gasol and shot from just in front of the Raptors bench. He connected. The arena exploded.
The screens inside showed the hundreds of bundled-up, celebrating fans watching the game outside the arena in Maple Leaf Square, a.k.a Jurassic Park, on a chilly Mother’s Day night.
Social media erupted with reaction video and tweets celebrating the historic buzzer beater.
Videos were also created of the play being set to different music, including the Titanic theme song and if it were a Pokemon battle.
Someone also made the play a Canadian Heritage Moment.
The shot may have also created a whole new generation of Raptors fans, as seen in a video posted to Twitter of two young boys celebrating after the big win.
Toronto Mayor John Tory also joked that he supports calls on social media for Leonard to take his job.
The mayor said Leonard’s shot that bounced on the rim four times before going in was the longest two seconds in sport history.
He said he didn’t place a ceremonial bet on the Raptors with Philadelphia’s mayor and may not do so against the team’s next opponent in Milwaukee.
He mused that it may be best if he didn’t bet so that he doesn’t place a hex on the team.
The Raptors open their third-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
A loss would’ve been deemed a big disappointment for a squad that team president Masai Ujiri rebuilt specifically with a big but short-term goal in mind – a berth in the NBA Finals – by acquiring Leonard and Danny Green for much-loved DeMar DeRozan last summer, and then acquiring Gasol for Jonas Valanciunas at the trade deadline.
–With files from Elton Hobson and The Canadian Press