J. Cole, in the immediate aftermath of the release of his latest project, The Off-Season, took his talents overseas to go play professional ball in the NBA-affiliated Basketball Africa League, as earlier reported by Empire. And just as quickly as he began his pro basketball career at 36 years of age, he’s hanging up his sneakers and apparently resuming his life as a Grammy Award-winning recording artist.
Fans of Cole, as well as his peers, heaped praise upon him for his willingness to set aside his successful music career and chase his dream despite the odds, while others weren’t exactly supportive or kind.
In three games, the Fayetteville, N.C., Cole amassed a grand total of five points, three assists and five rebounds in 45 minutes of action. keep in mind Cole’s age and the minimal amount of preparation he had prior to making his pro basketball debut.
Terrell Stoglin told ESPN, “I think there’s a negative and a positive to J.Cole’s presence. 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.”
In response to this, rapper Rick Ross took to social media and in a video, clapped back on Cole’s behalf.
“In no way is this meant to be disrespectful, but first and foremost, should no Black man’s dreams be censored nor limited…” Ross said.
Rapper Royce the 5’9″ also lent his support to Cole on Instagram. “Listen man, I just want to say that I’m very proud of what J. Cole is doing,” he began. “He’s showing the younger kids that look up to him that you don’t have to just stop at one dream. If you can somehow create enough value for yourself, you can achieve many things and you can do whatever it is you want without limits.”
Rapper J. Cole of the Rwanda Patriots BBC has completed his contractual obligation to the Basketball Africa League and has departed from Rwanda because of a “family obligation,” a source told ESPN’s The Undefeated