<
>

Rapper J. Cole to play in Canadian Elite Basketball League this season

play
J. Cole scores first points in BAL (0:21)

J. Cole gets on the board with his first points as a professional basketball player in the Basketball Africa League. (0:21)

SCARBOROUGH, Ontario -- Rapper J. Cole will play another season of pro basketball, this time in Canada.

The Canadian Elite Basketball League tweeted Thursday night that the 37-year-old rapper will join the Scarborough Shooting Stars in the coming season as a guard. The season begins Wednesday.

Cole, whose full name is Jermaine Cole, played with the Rwanda Patriots in the Basketball Africa League in 2021. He also played basketball in high school in North Carolina.

Cole's presence at the BAL last year was not universally popular, with AS Sale star Terrell Stoglin, who played his college hoops at Maryland and is the BAL's leading scorer in 2022, criticising the rapper's place in the tournament.

Stoglin, who is the only player to score 40 points in a BAL game, told ESPN: "I think there's a negative and a positive [to J. Cole's presence]. The negative part of it is: I think he took someone's job that deserves it.

"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.

"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. It's disrespectful to the ones who sacrificed their whole lives for this.

"The positive side of it is: 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."

Cole scored five points, and recorded three assists and five rebounds, in his three games at the BAL, but left the tournament ahead of the playoffs due to family commitments. The Patriots finished fourth.

Cole won a Grammy in 2020 for Best Rap Song ("A Lot" by 21 Savage featuring J. Cole) and has several BET Hip Hop Awards to his name. He also has six platinum albums and has produced songs for artists, including Kendrick Lamar, Janet Jackson and Young Thug.

His last album, "The Off-Season," came out a year ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.