J. Cole Leaves Basketball Africa League Due to 'Family Obligation' (UPDATE)

Sources told ESPN's Marc J. Spears on Wednesday that the rapper has officially completed his contractual obligations to the Basketball Africa League.


Image via Getty/Kevork Djansezian


UPDATED 5/28, 4 p.m. ETJust days after ESPN reported J. Cole had completed his contract with the Basketball Africa League and returned home due to a “family obligation,” it appears his basketball career is officially over.

Cole took to Instagram on Thursday to share a final message to his fans in Africa.

“So many thank you’s are due,” Cole wrote in a post. “Thank you to @thebal and to @patriotsbbc for the opportunity. Thank you to my teamates [sic], the coaches and staff for treating me like family. I learned so much in the few weeks we were together. Congrats on that win tonight and good luck next game.”

The 36-year-old went on to thank Puma, which signed him last year to a multi-year sponsorship deal, for “supporting a dream from day 1,” as well as the country of Rwanda for making him feel welcome during his stay. 

“Thank you to the entire country of Rwanda and to the city of Kigali for hosting us,” Cole continued. “BEAUTIFUL land with BEAUTIFUL people. To anyone considering visiting or moving to the continent, from everything I saw and heard, I would recommend you consider Kigali and Rwanda in general.”

See original story below

Cole’s professional basketball career has come to a close—at least for now.

Sources told ESPN’s Marc J. Spears that the rapper has completed his contractual obligations to the Basketball Africa League and has returned home from Rwanda due to a “family obligation.”

Cole played a little over 45 minutes in the Rwanda Patriots’ three pool games. During his time on the floor, the rapper had a total of five points, three assists, and five rebounds. In the process, the Patriots won two out of their three games, putting the team in  second place in Group A.

Cole actualizing his hoop dreams brought a lot of attention to the Rwanda Patriots and the BAL. Although he made up for this media circus by providing players with free Puma gear, there were some athletes who didn’t appreciate Cole’s presence. 

“I think there’s a negative and a positive [to J. Cole’s presence],” AS Sale star, Terrell Stoglin, said to ESPN. “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.”

Cole didn’t respond publicly to the shot, but Rick Ross decided to come to his defense.

“In no way is this meant to be disrespectful, but first and foremost, should no Black man’s dreams be censored nor limited,” Rozay said. “Coming from a brother, I think you would understand what building these types of relationships would do for the business. For the eyes on the industry, you know what I’m saying? … You should be there to support the brother.”

Despite Stoglin’s comments, Cole was seemingly well-received by the country during his time in Rwanda. He even had an opportunity to meet with the President, Paul Kagame, on Monday. 

Latest in Sports