Basketball Africa League Player Calls J. Cole Disrespectful for Playing
While fans of J. Cole are supportive of the rapper's decision to play basketball in Africa, a member of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) has taken offense to Cole's decision to pivot to hooping as a secondary profession.
During an interview with ESPN on Monday (May 24), AS Salé guard Terrell Stoglin of the BAL thinks Cole playing for the league's Rwanda Patriots is "disrespectful."
"I think there's a negative and a positive [to J. Cole playing for the BAL]," the former University of Maryland player told the sports network. "The negative part of it is I think he took someone's job that deserves it."
Stoglin believes there are other athletes who have sacrificed their lives for the opportunity that Cole received. "I live in a basketball world," Stoglin shared. "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."
Speaking on the upside of J. Cole participating in the Basketball Africa League, Stoglin agrees that the rapper's celebrity brings exposure to the league. However, the professional baller feels the North Carolina rhymer took the spot of someone who could've rightfully earned it.
He adds, "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... You took someone's job that deserved it."
On May 9, news broke that J. Cole was set to play a minimum of three games for the Rwanda Patriots. The Dreamville Records founder made his BAL debut on May 16. His team ultimately defeated Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club 83 to 60. ESPN reported he ended the game with three points, two assists and three rebounds, playing for just under 18 minutes.
On May 22, Cole played 12 minutes and scores 50 percent from the field. The Rwanda Patriots weren't victorious and were bested by the Union Sportive Monastirienne. The final score was 91-75.
Cole has long had hoop dreams, playing ball for Terry Sanford High School in North Carolina and later walking on at St. John's University as a student in the 2000s.
However, his calling was rap, so he put down the ball and picked up the mic. Now, it looks like he's juggling both.
The news of Cole's official basketball aspirations comes shortly after the release of his The Off-Season album, a title that is thematically based on the sport, similar to prior offerings such as his debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, and The Warm Up.
Check out Terrell Stoglin's full interview with ESPN about his disdain for J. Cole playing in the Basketball Africa League below.
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