The Drake Curse: A Timeline of Legacy and Failure
by: David Sun
While there is no such thing as a “normal” curse, perhaps some maledictions are more than mere superstition. Most legendarily notorious is the Aubrey “Drake” Graham curse, in which support for a team from the Grammy-winning “God’s Plan” and Scorpion artist means impending doom. Just a glimpse of the rapper wearing a jersey or attending a game spells out a devastating omen for fans.
Today marks the most recent occurrence of the Drake curse, in lieu of a very brief and disappointing playoff run by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The steadily recurring bouts of failure and disaster have coerced fans to label Drake’s appearance as one of a poltergeist, an indication of tragedy to come. The phenomenon began in 2013, when everyone, including Drake, favored the Miami Heat to win their second championship in the 2014 season.
Miami Heat, 2013: 2013 displayed the utter dominance of the Heat superteam, helmed by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Drake celebrated Miami’s hard-fought championship in seven games against the San Antonio Spurs, partying with the Heat superstars. Surprisingly, the Spurs thoroughly tore apart the Heat the next year, winning the 2014 NBA Finals in a quick five games. That offseason, James left for Cleveland. The first instance of the Drake curse had arrived.
Kentucky Wildcats, 2014: After a thrilling semifinals win over Wisconsin, Drake vocalized his encouragement of the Wildcats through a team speech. Suspicion of Drake’s influence spiked when Shabazz Napier and the UConn Huskies defeated Kentucky in the National Championship, setting a precedent of disappointing expectations for years to come. In fact, the Wildcats have not won a championship since Drake gifted the team engraved rings in 2012.
Serena Williams, 2015: Serena Williams joined the 2015 U.S. Open as a heavy favorite and the top seed. In the semifinals, Williams lost in shocking fashion to an unranked Roberta Vinci, while Drake was in attendance and cheered for Williams the entire time.
Conor McGregor, 2018: At McGregor’s weigh-in for his fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, Drake draped an Irish flag across his shoulders and demonstrated his support for the notorious fighter. McGregor proceeded to yield in submission to Nurmagomedov and suffer one of the most devastating losses of his career. By this time, Drake’s name had become synonymous with superstition.
Alabama Crimson Tide, 2019: In arguably the most prominent example of Drake’s curse, the Crimson Tide were preparing to battle Clemson in the 2019 National Championship football game when Drake posted a video of himself repping an Alabama hoodie to Instagram. Alabama, behind quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s two interceptions, a struggling offense and a botched fake field goal play, lost to Clemson 44-16.
Toronto Maple Leafs, 2019: When the Maple Leafs failed to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on the opposing Boston Bruins in the first round of the NHL playoffs, fans seized the opportunity to point at the increasingly infamous curse, citing Drake’s attendance at the game as the reason for their loss. Coincidentally or not, the Maple Leafs also were eliminated from the playoffs by the Bruins in Game 7 of the series.
Toronto Raptors (?), 2019: Drake has long supported the Canadian-based NBA team, even becoming its “Global Ambassador” in 2013. It’s been clear that the Raptors have consistently failed to perform in the playoffs (mockingly earning the nickname “LeBronto” in reference to LeBron James’ constant victimization of the team). It remains to be seen if the social experiment in Kawhi Leonard, the player with the highest winning percentage in the NBA, can contradict the cursed mentality of the Raptors and complete a playoff push.