OKLAHOMA CITY – First, everyone wanted to know why Drake, a world-famous rapper, was sitting courtside in Oklahoma City on a Wednesday night to watch a humdrum Thunder-Rockets game.
The next question: Who was the chatty senior couple next to him, and did they have any clue who the celebrity in the furry red coat was?
“Well, I knew his name was Drake,” Renee Stanley told The Oklahoman, “but I didn’t know he was a rapper, and I didn’t know how popular he was. But let me tell ya, everybody else around me let me know.”
Drake’s “new parents” are Renee, 71, and Jim Stanley, 75, of Oklahoma City. Yes, “my new parents” was how Drake captioned a selfie with the Stanleys that he shared to his 97.2 million Instagram followers.
Credit Renee Stanley for the caption.
“Just tell everybody we’re your new parents,” Renee told Drake when he asked if they could take a selfie.
“And that’s when my phone blew up,” Renee said, “because he did.”
In the photo, Drake and Jim Stanley are cheesing it up. Renee is looking at Drake instead of at the camera.
The Stanleys, known on the internet as “the old couple next to Drake,” went viral.
“We’re laughing and hooting over the fact that we’re called old people,” Renee said. “We don’t think we’re old, although I guess we are.”
Renee had friends from Alaska to New York City contact her.
She got a call from her grandson, an OU student, who follows Drake on Instagram.
“Oh my god, Grandma, I’m following Drake and I see YOU!” he told her.
“He about fell over,” Renee said. “I’m a big hit with the grandkids.”
There was talk that Drake is in Oklahoma City to see an old friend, but no one seemed sure. Maybe he’s advising Joe Castiglione in the OU coaching search. Perhaps he’s just interested in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery, and the major implications a Thunder-Rockets game can have on it.
Who knows, but the Stanleys said he was at the game to support Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who, like Drake, is from Toronto.
Gilgeous-Alexander hugged Drake after the game, as did Luguentz Dort, another Thunder by way of Canada.
“We know each other, obviously being from the same city,” said Gilgeous-Alexander, who seems to be more of a fan than a close friend of Drake’s.
Gilgeous-Alexander, like everybody else, said he didn’t know why Drake was at the game.
“I guess he just wanted to come watch basketball,” Gilgeous-Alexander said.
If Drake came for the basketball, a 114-110 Rockets win, then maybe he stayed for the Stanleys.
They became fast friends.
The ice was broken when Jim Stanley complimented Drake’s coat. Then Renee Stanley said she liked Drake’s earrings.
Jim and Drake talked about hockey — Jim is an Edmonton Oilers fan from the Oklahoma City Barons days — and Renee told Drake that her grandfather was from Quebec.
“We just had a conversation like anybody sitting next to you at a game,” Jim said. “It’s just that he’s a big deal and I’m not.”
“We weren’t intimidated,” Renee said, “because we didn’t know him.”
Renee even brought up he-who-must-not-be-named.
“We were talking about Oklahoma sports, and I did make the comment that Lincoln Riley … I said, ‘That sumb—- took everybody and went to USC. And he laughed over that, so maybe he thought, well these people are clueless and I can talk to them.”
Drake was shown on the jumbotron in the third quarter. After that, during every timeout, a handful of fans lined up to take pictures with the Grammy-winning artist.
“When you think of celebrities sometimes and how they can be real snobs, he was just an everyday person and was very cordial to us,” Jim said. “I appreciate that.”
And now Drake has two more fans because of it.
“At the end of the game,” Renee said, “he stood up to look at me and I said, ‘Drake, you are just lovely.’
“And he kissed my hand.”