Rapper J. Cole is out to prove that there isn’t a thing that he can’t do, nor a dream that he can’t achieve. Easily one of this generation’s most influential and successful Hip-Hop artists and the co-founder of his Dreamville record label, he’s also stepped into the world of professional basketball. The Fayetteville, North Carolina-born artist was recently announced as one of the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s newest stars. However, just as quickly as the news was revealed, it looks as though J. Cole’s basketball dreams are again placed in “The Off-Season.”
J. Cole Left Music For Basketball
J. Cole’s meteoric rise to being in many a fan’s top 5 began early. While attending St. John’s University on a scholarship, he also feverishly chased his rap dreams and a record deal. But J. Cole also harbored dreams of being a basketball player as well. While attending Fayetteville’s Terry Sanford High School, J. Cole played for their basketball team. In a 2013 interview with Sports Illustrated, the rapper expressed that he 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.” The rapper didn’t have the most effortless journey in his high school basketball career. J. Cole detailed his run to SI, saying that after being cut within his first two years, he was extremely persistent in training to make the team. Finally, the “Middle Child” rapper gained access as one of the team’s players and eventually became a starter in his senior year.
J. Cole tried out for the school’s Red Storm basketball team at St. John’s University. His efforts landed him a coveted callback position the next day. However, Cole couldn’t shake the undeniable love for music and rap that he had. With this, he decided at the eleventh hour that he “knew was going to change the trajectory of [his] life.” What followed would be years of massive success and an extremely loyal fan base. Two years after graduating summa cum laude from St. John’s University, J. Cole began releasing mixtapes to critical acclaim. Ultimately, the rapper became the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation records in 2009.
Since signing with the label, J. Cole has released six studio albums, all topping the Billboard 200 charts. The critically-acclaimed rapper has also achieved multiple award nominations from American Music Awards to Soul Train Music Awards. In addition, he’s gone on to win 8 BET Hip-Hop Awards, one Grammy, and one Billboard Music Award. Along with these accolades, J. Cole has found incredible success in touring, selling out arenas worldwide, and grossing millions of dollars in revenue.
With all that J. Cole has accomplished in music, it appeared that he wouldn’t let his basketball dreams suffer. First, he was allowed to taste what it feels like to be in the NBA during the 2012 All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game for the Eastern team. Then in May 2021, J. Cole shocked fans when he announced that he would be playing in the Basketball Africa League for Rwanda’s Patriots Basketball Club. He then announced in May of 2022 that he was signing on to play for the Scarborough Shooting Stars in the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
J. Cole Scored A Career-High Of 3-Points In Basketball Africa League.
On May 10, 2021, just four days before the release of his sixth studio album, The Off-Season, J Cole was announced to be signing the contract to play for the Basketball Africa League. According to SLAM, the rapper’s deal was for “three to six games,” with his first game being May 16.
However, after just three games, J. Cole’s basketball career in Africa was over. According to an ESPN report, his departure was due to a “family obligation.” Furthermore, it looked like basketball wasn’t hittin’ like music was for the North Carolina native. At the height of his Basketball Africa League career, J. Cole scored 3 points in a game against the Rivers Hoopers. Altogether, the music superstar scored a whopping 5 points during his time with the Patriots.
J. Cole Returned To Music
After his brief stint, J. Cole got back into the groove of pushing his latest studio album. Two singles – “Interlude” and the 21 Savage and Morray-assisted “My Life”- were released and charted in the top 10 on The Hot 100. In addition, numerous other songs from the album also charted high on The Hot 100 and received Gold or Platinum certifications. J. Cole also featured on Wale’s “Poke It Out” later that year, and in 2022 he hopped on singles from both YG and Bia. He also embarked on his co-headlining tour with 21 Savage, The Off-Season Tour, in 2021.
J. Cole Joined The Canadian Elite Basketball League
It appeared that the rapper wasn’t done with basketball when another announcement was made in May 2022 via the CEBL’s Twitter that he’d signed on to play in their upcoming season. J. Cole played for four games with the Scarborough Shooting Stars. Celebrity friends like Drake even came out to check him out on the court. However, his stats in Canada were less favorable than in Africa. J. Cole scored an average of 2.4 points with the Shooting Stars during his 4-game stint. The rapper described his short-lived experience in an interview captured by The Shade Room. J. Cole called it “incredible” and said everyone was “welcoming.” But due to upcoming tour obligations, he’s now leaving the CEBL, and it is unclear if he will return.
With J. Cole’s history as a brief player on two teams, fans took to social media to share their commentary. “I actually had a feeling he was going to dip after a few games again,” wrote one fan on TSR. Another added, “He don’t know what he wanna do at this point Lmaooooo.”