Rapper J. Cole Is Signing A Deal To Play Pro Ball In Africa With The Rwanda Patriots

j cole basketball africa
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Rapper J. Cole, born Jermaine Lamarr Cole, was a successful youth athlete before turning to music, and it seems like he’s coming back around to his first love. ESPN reports that Cole is signing a deal to play in the Basketball Africa League with the Rwanda Patriots, and the news will be made official on Thursday.

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Cole previously starred at his North Carolina high school, and was a walk-on at St. John’s, though he became a musician before playing a Division I game.

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Cole got to Rwanda two days ago and will be playing between three and six games for his team, starting on Sunday in a game against the Rivers Hoopers, from Nigeria. This is BAL’s inaugural season and was formed as a partnership between FIBA and the NBA. It’s the first collaborative effort from the NBA to operate a league outside of North America, according to SI.

“Sports is where it started for me,” Cole told Sports Illustrated in 2013. “It parallels my life. Rap is such a competitive thing. That’s why I have to watch sports. I got to keep up. It’s my life in just another form.”

Even without pursuing an entirely new career, this would be a big week for J. Cole. May 14th is the release of his new album, which is accompanied by a documentary of the same name: “The Off-Season.”

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So, is this a promotional thing? Not clear, but the inaugural BAL season should have 26 games, and J. Cole is playing a relatively small number of games. His album and the doc also seem to include a lot of basketball themes and references, so maybe it’s a hybrid.

If there’s someone out there who can have a part-time professional basketball career, it’s probably J. Cole.

Written by Alison Sullivan

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