Rapper J.Cole Joins Rwanda Basketball Team

In the maiden Basketball Africa League, which begins in East Africa on Sunday, J. Cole will represent the Rwanda Patriots as a shooting forward.

J.Cole joins Rwanda basketball team (1)
He will make his Rwanda debut just two days after releasing “The Off-Season,” an album that pays tribute to his passion for basketball. PHOTO via @Getty Images

Rapper J. Cole has signed with the Rwanda Patriots and will play as a shooting forward in the inaugural Basketball Africa League which starts on Sunday in the East African nation.

Jermaine Lamarr Cole, 36, an award-winning rapper and music producer, played basketball in high school and university and has long aspired to be a professional basketball player.

Cole appeared on the thirteen-player roster released on Friday night by Patriots head coach Alan Major. He will wear the number 15 for Rwanda in the BAL.

The Patriots selected J. Cole because he has a good shooting touch. He has a high IQ for the game,” said Haydee Ndayishimiye, the team’s chief operations officer.

“He has played the game. We just thought that he was a good fit with the squad, and we have seen in practice he has gelled well with them. While they are practising with him, they are looking good out there,” she added.

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Cole will play in the Patriots’ opening match against Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers on Sunday. Based on Ndayishimiye, Cole has a confidentiality contract and is only with the team for the duration of the tournament.

Originally scheduled for last year, the 12-club tournament was postponed due to a Coronavirus pandemic.

The president of the Africa Basketball League, Amadou Fall, said the league “will showcase the talent and passion of players from across the continent.”

This will be the first NBA-sponsored professional league outside the United States. The BAL is supported by the International Basketball Federation and the National Basketball Association.

The release of Cole’s sixth studio albumThe Off-Season,” which pays homage to his love of basketball, comes two days before his Rwandan debut.

“I’m at a point in my life where I wonder if I will do this forever,” Cole said recently in an interview with Slam, an American basketball publication.

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