Drake is hosting ESPN’s annual sports awards show, the ESPYS, on Wednesday night, and he gave a teleconference about it this afternoon. During the 20-minute call, Drake said he’ll be doing more celebrity impressions after doing some killer impersonations on SNL earlier this year. He also said he would be performing music during Wednesday’s broadcast (“0 To 100,” pretty please) and that the production team has assembled “some incredible pre-tapes.” It was a cordial and lighthearted call for the most part, with Drake promising “a treat” for those hoping he’ll reference his much-publicized crush on WNBA star Skylar Diggins, explaining that “despite what everyone on the Internet thinks” he’s not a bandwagon jumper (he just supports individual players rather than teams for the most part), and even politely chuckling at one reporter’s lint-roller joke. (“That’s funny,” he deadpanned.) But things took a slightly tenser turn near the end when Drake continued his history of tennis-related beef.
Some context: Earlier this month, 19-year-old Australian tennis prodigy Nick Kyrgios blamed his near-loss to Jiri Vesely at Wimbledon on listening to Drake before the first set. “I came out really flat, so hopefully I won’t listen to that again! It was actually Drake. Didn’t do the job for me.” This obviously rubbed Drake the wrong way, so, when asked who he was looking forward to meeting, after mentioning the potential awkwardness of finally meeting Diggins, he brought up Kyrgios:
I also want to meet this guy that says that he lost because he listened to my music. I also want to meet that guy and look him in the eye and see exactly who he is as a man and size him up and then chop him right down. Nick whatever-his-name-is — ’cause he didn’t win, so that’s how he’s going to be remembered: “Nick whatever-his-name-is.”
Thing is, Kyrgios actually ended up winning his match against Vesely and going on to knock off world No. 1 Rafael Nadal before losing to Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals, so Drake didn’t quite have his information straight. He also had this to say about the difference between rap beefs and playful ribbing at awards shows:
I think that’s a funny question. I think it’s a bit different. I definitely think that beef in hip-hop is a little more malicious than what any host is going for. I don’t think we’re trying to end people’s careers or make people feel bad in any way, and that’s most of the time what problems in hip-hop are about. So no, our night is all about being funny. It’s all about giving you guys a great time and celebrating sports. So there’s definitely a difference. Although being clever with words is being clever with words, so that’s one advantage that any musician has or any great writer has. But yeah, I think the end goals are a bit different.
And he weighed in on LeBron James’ decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers:
I think for the last week and a half I’ve probably been bothering LeBron as much as the press has trying to figure out what his decision was going to be. I think we were all extremely intrigued by what stage of his life he’s in. And I don’t think there’s a better way to deal with it than what he just did. I think if we were to give out an award at the ESPYS for incredible essay writing, I would definitely love to present that to him because I think that what he just did was patriotic in its own way, was courageous, and I think it’s going to obviously be one of the most historic things of our generation. And I’m just honored to know him and glad that I got to — no pun intended — witness this moment. I think it’s an incredible thing. I actually woke up kind of late today, so I’m just catching on. It’s a great feeling for me. I can’t wait to get off this call and call him myself and tell him how proud I am of him because he’s been a friend of mine for a long time.
This press conference was at 4 p.m., so Drake must sleep in pretty late!
The ESPYS airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN. In other news, Drake and Chris Brown apparently made up and are in the studio together:
Let's be clear. I like @Drake – love his music, just said I was a little flat, ended up winning that match. No blame game here.
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) July 14, 2014