J. Cole Manager Applauds Rapper For Pro-Basketball Gig: ‘Ball Really Is Life To This N-gga’

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It’s no secret J. Cole is an avid fan of basketball — not just watching it but playing it, too. On Thursday (May 19), The Athletic announced the Grammy Award-winning MC will be playing professional basketball for his second consecutive year after landing a position with the Scarborough Shooting Stars of the Canadian Elite Basketball League.

Not long after the news broke, J. Cole’s longtime friend and manager Ibrahim Hamad, applauded the 6’3″ player for his latest accomplishment via Twitter.

“Second year pro,” he wrote. “Too crazy. Bro works out everyday just trying to get better and push himself. It’s inspiring to see someone chase something that seems so ridiculous to everyone else but be so dedicated through it all. Ball really is life to this n-gga.”

J. Cole, who plays under his real name Jermaine Cole, grew up playing basketball in North Carolina. In 2021, he played with the Rwanda Patriots in the Basketball Africa League, his first season in a pro league. But Cole’s presence ruffled the feathers of AS Sale star Terrell Stoglin, who played his college hoops at Maryland and is the Baskteball Africa League’s leading scorer in 2022,

“I think there’s a negative and a positive [to J. Cole’s presence],” Stoglin told EPSN last May. “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.”

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