Drake might be the Toronto Raptors' global ambassador, but he helped coordinate a high-profile defection from the NBA champions.
In an interview with ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Paul George says that some of the planning in arranging a team-up with fellow Southern California native Kawhi Leonard with the Los Angeles Clippers went down at the Toronto rapper's home in the L.A. area.
George says everything began with a congratulatory phone call to Leonard shortly after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals.
"It was congratulating him on winning," George says. "That's how it started ... then it took on a life of its own."
As Leonard was navigating his free agency, Drake allowed the Finals MVP to take up residence in his Hidden Hills, CA home. After a series of calls and texts between George and Leonard, the two met in person at Drake's house. A plan came together as to how the two could join forces.
By July 2, George had informed Oklahoma City Thunder general manager of his plan and asked for a trade, only a year after re-signing with the team on a four-year deal. Presti agreed to his request and began to engage both the Raptors and Clippers about a potential deal with the Clippers the preferred destination for George over the July 4th weekend.
George told Shelburne that he and Leonard again met at Drake's home following the latter's return from a meeting in Toronto with Raptors brass.
Shortly thereafter, the Clippers would pull the trigger, sending Hamilton native Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and five first-round picks to the Thunder for George.
George says that after he received word of the trade, he immediately called his parents.
"I can't explain what that feels like," George said. "As a kid, you see yourself and you envision this. I pictured my parents being able to watch me at Staples. I pictured playing in L.A. I pictured being an All-Star, a superstar. But I think the best thing is before every game when I'm introduced, 'Paul George from Palmdale, California.' I'm not playing for the Clippers. This is home. I'm playing for the home team."