J. Cole shocked the world when he dropped a surprise album then went off to play basketball in Africa. The reclusive rapper, born Jermaine Lamarr Cole, starred at Sanford (North Carolina) High School and was a walk-on at St. John’s, but he ultimately turned his focus to music before playing in a Division I game. Now he’s shifting back to basketball, already having played his first few inaugural games Basketball Africa League. J. Cole is expected to play for Rwandan side the Patriots BBC. While many are excited to see what he does, some are not a fan of him joining the league.
Some clips from J Cole’s 2nd game in the Africa basketball league‼️😳— RapTV (@raptvcom) May 20, 2021
“You looking at LeBron James of the game,” J. Cole rapped on his breakout mixtape, “The Warm Up” in 2009. The Dreamville front man has talked candidly over the years about his love for the game. Outside of music it was his second biggest passion. In 2013 he spoke to Sports Illustrated about it. “I was always in love with basketball as a kid, but I thought I was way better than I really was, because I didn’t have a male figure around to show me how to actually play. Me and my brother just kind of figured it out playing rec ball. I went to a middle school that didn’t have a team. That kind of set me back.”
I don’t think people are talking enough of about J cole starting a basketball career at 36, helping promote a league in Africa https://t.co/uI7kIEja6r— Chukwunedum (@manLikeJefff) May 23, 2021
He openly talks about not being that great, even being cut two years in a row despite being the team manager the second year. he told Ballislife.com “I became the manager of the team. Now, you would think that next year I’d just make the team off of GP [general principle]. Don’t you know my name was on the cut list? I was heartbroken. You talk about disbelief. I realized I had to kick it into [gear] the next year.”
Fast forward to 2021, and now he’s finally getting his chance out on the court. AS Salé guard Terrell Stoglin spoke out against Cole’s inclusion and said there are a number of career basketball players who should have gotten Cole’s opportunity. In addition, Stoglin said the media attention given to Cole’s lack luster in game performance is “disrespectful”.
“I think there’s a negative and a positive [to J. Cole’s presence],” Stoglin said. “The negative part of it is: I think he took someone’s job that deserves it. I live in a basketball world. I don’t live in a fan world. I know a lot of guys that had their careers stopped by COVID and they’re still home working out and training for an opportunity like this. For a guy who has so much money and has another career to just come here and average, like, one point a game and still get glorified is very disrespectful to the game. It’s disrespectful to the ones who sacrificed their whole lives for this. The positive side of it is: it brings a lot of attention, and, I guess, money. I don’t really pay attention to that type of stuff. I’m more [concerned that] he took someone’s job that deserved it.”