Drake attending a sporting event

In most cases, having a celebrity associated with a professional sports team brings nothing but good. It’s a symbiotic relationship wherein the team has their profile raised by comping a few tickets, while the celebrity gets to wave at themselves on the Jumbotron. Some celebrities have even woven themselves into the fabric of one of their favorite teams. Actor Jack Nicholson is such a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan that he spent years posted up on along the sidelines and wearing sunglasses indoors. It even got to the point where he must have thought he really was part of the team, and so he started berating on-court officials.

Meanwhile, sports fans are also notoriously superstitious. The Chicago Cubs’ 108-year World Series drought was at least partially blamed on a guy not being able to bring his goat into Wrigley Field, per USA Today. Fans may truly believe that their game day ritual — not a ritual belonging to anyone on the team — is the difference between winning and losing.

One of the latest alleged curses to strike the sports world combines the notion of sports and celebrities becoming intertwined with superstitions harbored by fans. It involves one of the world’s biggest musicians — rapper Drake — lending his allegiance to various franchises and athletes, and leaving losses and misfortune in his wake.

The dawn of the Drake curse

Drake at a Serena Willams match

According to Uproxx, the first instance of the Drake curse on record was noted in 2015, and it had an impact on one of the most dominant athletes of this century so far: Serena Williams. That year, Williams was en route to a stunning feat: becoming the first woman to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year since 1988. Williams had wins at the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon under her belt, with all signs pointing to her clinching the U.S. Open to seal the deal.

Around this time, Williams and Drake were seen together multiple times, which fanned rumors that they were a couple, and Drizzy was in attendance at a bunch of her matches. With a shot at history on the line, Williams found herself up against Italian Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals. Despite being a heavy 300-1 favorite, Serena lost the match, which snapped her Grand Slam streak, and with that, the Drake curse was born.

Johnny Manziel fell victim to the Drake curse

Johnny Manziel with Zappers

What no one knew when Willaims became the first victim of the dreaded Drake curse was that its next strike had been in the works for quite some, per Uproxx. Johnny Manziel was a standout quarterback at Texas A&M University, even winning the Heisman Trophy back-to-back seasons, in 2012 and 2013. It seemed like Manziel would be perched atop the draft board, but then Drake put out a song called "Draft Day" that served as a tip of the cap to Johnny Football and the rapper’s fellow countryman, basketball player Andrew Wiggins. Shockingly — especially for a two-time Heisman Trophy winner — Manziel slid to the bottom of the first round and wound up going to the Cleveland Browns, who took him with the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Manziel continued to be seen hanging out with Drake, and his career in Cleveland never took off due to poor performance and off-field issues that caused friction with teammates (via Bleacher Report). He was out of the NFL after two seasons and just 14 games, per Football Reference. After leaving the NFL, Manziel spent a season in the Canadian Football League, splitting time between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Montreal Alouettes. In 2021, Manziel played for the Zappers of the Fan Controlled Football league, and while announcing his intent to play in the league once again in 2022, Manziel told ESPN that he didn’t "have the drive to play football at a high level anymore."

Drake mushed the Golden State Warriors

Drake at NBA Finals in 2016

A perfect example of the sheer power of the Drake curse (if you buy into this sort of thing) is how it seemingly affected one of the most dominant teams in recent history, the Golden State Warriors. In the mid- to late-2010s the Warriors were top dogs in the NBA, with five straight trips to the finals between the 2014-15 and 2018-19 seasons. This stretch earned the franchise three championships, per Basketball Reference,

It could have easily been four, had the 2015-16 NBA Finals between the Warriors and the Lebron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers not been Drake-ified. Drake was good buddies with the Warriors’ then-center Kevin Durant and cheered the team through the playoffs. According to Basketball Reference, through four games, the Warriors jumped to a 3-1 lead in the best of seven series.

The Warriors were pretty heavy favorites, given Game 7 was played in Oakland, per ESPN. Drake decided to capitalize on this and made a bet with fellow rapper French Montana for $60,000 ahead of the deciding tilt that the Warriors would come out victorious (via Billboard). As you can probably guess by now, things didn’t pan out well for the Drake-favored Warriors, who lost 93-89, stealing another championship away from the Warriors and leaving Drake’s wallet substantially lighter.

An end to the Drake curse?

Drake in Raptors championship parade

There have been lots of other Drizzy curse casualties over the years, including the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team, UFC champ Connor McGregor, and even the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide Football team, among others (via Uproxx). However, in 2019, it appeared that the curse may have come to an end, when the rapper’s hometown NBA team claimed a title.

Drake’s Raptors faced off against former curse victims the Golden State Warriors in 2019. The Raptors and Warriors duked it out for five games before the Raptors clinched a title in Game 6 on the road at Oakland’s Oracle Arena by a score of 114-110 (via Basketball Reference). Drake wasn’t in Oakland for the game, but he was back in Toronto watching the game with fellow fans outside Scotiabank Arena, in an area appropriately nicknamed Jurassic Park, per USA Today. Canadian sports network TSN tweeted out a video of the rapper going crazy while celebrating the Raptors’ championship, and perhaps — just a little bit — the apparent end of the dreaded Drake Curse.

The Drake curse did not end

Charles Leclerc, 2022 Spanish Grand Prix

In 2022, there was another example of the Drake curse, and once again it wound up costing Drake money. A lot of money. This time the victim came from the world of Formula 1. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc had stuck his car on pole position, giving himself a great shot at scoring a victory and extending his championship lead over reigning 2021 champion, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, per Sporting News.

Leclerc jumped out to a substantial lead, and it seemed as though the Monegasque driver was on his way to an easy lights-to-flag victory for Ferrari. However, according to Sporting News, it all fell apart on lap 28 when the Ferrari power unit in the back of his car suffered a failure. It was a shocking retirement that cost Leclerc the lead in the championship standings, especially when the Ferrari power unit was known for its reliability, per Autosport. However, it quickly became apparent that other forces may have been at work.

According to Daily Mail, before the race, Drake posted a picture of his bet slip to his Instagram Story with the caption, "First F1 bet, let’s see how it goes." The bet was $300,000 CAD ($230,000 USD) to win $750,000 CAD ($590,000 USD) that Leclerc would win the Spanish Grand Prix. Fans were quick to note that it seemed like the Drake curse was still very much alive.