Rappers may want to be ballers, and ballers may want to be rappers, but one thing is always for sure: haters gonna hate. J. Cole made his debut in the Basketball Africa League last week, and many people were supportive of the rapper. However, one person who explicitly is not a fan of J. Cole on the court is the BAL’s leading scorer Terrell Stoglin.
“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,” Stoglin expressed in an interview with ESPN. “It’s disrespectful to the ones who sacrificed their whole lives for this.”
A former Univ. of Maryland guard who now plays with the Moroccan team, AS Salé, Stoglin made his own mark in BAL history last week by becoming the organization’s first player to score 40 points in a single game.
“I think [J. Cole] took someone’s job that deserves it,” Stoglin shared during the sit-down. “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.”
It wasn’t all hate for Cole, however. “The positive side of it is,” Stoglin continued, “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.”
Someone who disagrees with Stoglin’s veiled claim of favoritism is the Rwanda Patriots BBC chief operations officer Haydee Ndayishimiye. “Of course, someone as famous as [J. Cole] will bring a lot of attention, but one thing the BAL, Patriots BBC, and his team have committed to do is to treat him like any other player,” she told ESPN.
It is a known fact Cole was originally interested in basketball and even earned a spot on the St. John University’s ball squad before turning his attention to rap. Nevertheless, the 36-year-old rookie has been a part of the Patriots BBC’s playoff berth this season, so Ndayishimiye stands by the move. “He’s a great basketball player and wants to play the game like everyone else,” she said. “We understand some other teams may feel this way [as Stoglin does], but we made a basketball decision first… We made a basketball decision which can be justified by our performance so far.”
Although Cole has not yet directly addressed Stoglin’s statements, someone who would not the remarks slide was Maybach Music CEO and hip-hop titan Rick Ross. He went on Twitter to defend Cole’s performance and called out Stoglin for shading another Black man.
“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. “Comin’ from a brother, I think you would understand what building these types of relationships would do for the business. For the eyes on the industry, you know what I’m sayin’?… If Cristiano Ronaldo bought the team, you would be there for the ribbon-cutting…”
Relive how Cole was saluted when he finally made his hoop dreams came true in the gallery below.