After scoring five points, three assists, and five rebounds over the course of three games, J. Cole is leaving Basketball Africa League and citing “family obligation” as the reason. Cole did fulfill his contractual duties with the Rwanda Patriots, however, it is still unclear if his departure is temporary. The timing does seem uncanny, though, in light of remarks that were recently made by another BAL player, AS Salé guard Terrell Stoglin.
Stoglin insinuated to ESPN that Cole’s presence in the BAL was more about publicity and privilege, but not because the rapper sufficiently deserved to play. “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 said. “It’s disrespectful to the ones who sacrificed their whole lives for this.”
One person who disagrees with Stoglin’s assessment of Cole is Patriots COO Haydee Ndayishimiye. “J. Cole is a very good shooter,” she told AFP earlier in May. “We picked him because he has a really high IQ for the game.”
Ndayishimiye later addressed Stoglin’s remarks more directly with ESPN. She told the outlet, “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.”
Cole has no shortage of support from the hip-hop community, either. Stoglin’s comments did not sit well with Rick Ross, and the Dade County lyricist defended Cole’s participation in the BAL. “In no way is this meant to be disrespectful, but first and foremost, should no Black man’s dreams be censored nor limited,” he said on Twitter.
“Rozay” continued to thoughtfully take it to Stoglin. “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’?,” he asked. “If your father owned the team and he had to decide between you and Cole, I believe he would find it honorable if you stepped down and let Cole bring what he’s bringin’ to the industry… If Cristiano Ronaldo bought the team, you would be there for the ribbon-cutting…”
Cole has not yet made any comment about Stoglin.