Not everyone is thrilled with J. Cole’s venture into professional sports.
Less than two weeks after making his BAL debut, the Dreamville rapper received some criticism from fellow league athlete Terrell Stoglin. The AS Sale guard, who was reportedly the first BAL player to put up 40 points in a single game, described Cole’s basketball skills as “average,” and suggested there were other athletes who were more deserving of a BAL contract.
“I think there’s a negative and a positive [to Cole’s presence],” Stoglin told ESPN. “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.”
So, what are some of the pros of Cole’s BAL presence? Stoglin admits the music star would bring more attention to the league, and potentially more money.
“I don’t really pay attention to that type of stuff,” he said about the positive aspects of Cole’s involvement. “I’m more [concerned that] he took someone’s job that deserved it.”
Shortly after Stoglin’s ESPN interview, Rick Ross released his own statement on the matter.
“In no way is this meant to be disrespectful, but first and foremost, should no Black man’s dreams be censored nor limited,” Ross said. “Comin’ 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 sayin’?”
He continued: “You should be there to support the brother. If he made one point on the first game, by the time he get to the 10th, you should make sure he makin’ six a game, you understand?”
In the days leading up to The Off-Season release, Cole announced he had signed a three- to six-game contract with Rwanda’s Patriots. The 36-year-old artist said he had always dreamed to play professional basketball, but chose to put his hoop dreams on the back burner so he could pursue a music career.
“When I was kid I wanted to play in the NBA, not just professional, but be in the NBA,” he explained on Kevin Durant’s The ETCs podcast. “But I was delusional. I didn’t have any reason to think that I would be in the NBA, but I definitely thought I was good enough.”
Cole went on to say he was close to making the basketball team at St. John’s University in New York City, but got cold feet after he made it to the second round of tryouts. He told Durant that he knew basketball would consume his life once he got on the roster, so he decided to dedicate his early 20s to rap and then try his hand at pro-basketball in his mid-to-late 20s.
“If you blow up in enough time and put in work, you may be able to do this.” he said about his thought process. “I’m a ridiculous dreamer … But I didn’t blow up in time. It took me way longer than that, you know what I mean? So, like, here I am in my mid-30s in Rwanda. But, to me, it’s perfect.”