We all know how rappers want to be ballers and ballers want to be rappers and, this weekend, J. Cole officially placed himself on a shortlist of lyricists that actually achieved both ambitions. Cole made his pro debut with the Rwanda Patriots when they faced off against the Nigeria River Hoopers this past Sunday, May 16 in the Basketball African League.
The 36-year-old rapper came off the bench in the last 60 seconds of the first quarter, and he posted a respectable stat line of three points, three rebounds, two assists, and three turnovers over seventeen minutes. Cole and the Patriots ended up defeating the Hoopers by a score of 83-60, and fans in the U.S. were able to enjoy the game since it was televised stateside, too.
Cole took a lighthearted jab at himself on IG, but the man is no greenhorn. He was a standout player at Stanford High School in his home state of North Carolina, and the rapper was even good enough to be a walk-on for the St. John’s basketball team before eventually shelving his hoop dreams for the mic.
His tenure with the team is expected to be brief, though. Cole signed a three-to-six game contract with the Patriots as they move forward in their quest for the league’s maiden championship crown. Plus, his sixth album – aptly titled The Off-Season – was released this same weekend and is projected to make its appearance on next week’s Billboard 200 chart at No. 1, making it his sixth such consecutive start.
On his new album, Cole showed he has much more in the tank and is going to continue to “clap at the fake deep rappers, the OG gatekeep rappers, the would-you-take-a-break-please rappers.” (“Can’t leave the game yet, I feel like LeBron,” from the song “1 0 0 . m i l ‘.”) But if he does decide to quit the rap game and make a move to the hardwood for good, Cole has the support of some former NBA players like Rex Chapman and current ESPN commentator Kendrick Perkins. Either way, salute to Jermaine Cole!
Check out some of the reactions to Cole making his basketball dreams come true below.