After a three-year hiatus, rapper and new Rwanda Patriots shooting guard J.Cole released his sixth studio album titled “The Off-Season.” Despite spending the greater part of the past decade focusing on a multiplatinum music career, his basketball roots run deep.
Born Jermaine Lamarr Cole, he was a star basketball player at Sanford (North Carolina) High School before a short stint as a walk-on at St. John’s University.
The North Carolina native also drew attention during the 2019 Dunk Contest when he performed at All-Star Weekend in his home state and nearly threw down a one-handed dunk:
✅ Helped out Dennis Smith Jr. at the Dunk Contest
✅ Performed at the NBA All-Star Game in his home state
✅ Gave a shout-out to 21 Savage
✅ Rocked the throwback Hornets jacket
— ESPN (@espn) February 18, 2019
The second song of the album, titled “p u n c h i n ‘ . t h e . c l o c k.”, features audio from Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard‘s postgame interview after he put up 61 points in the NBA Bubble against the Dallas Mavericks. Lillard and CJ McCollum acknowledged the sample:
💯 Cole a real one… album 🔥🔥 https://t.co/4ZBEfFVZtG
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) May 14, 2021
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) May 14, 2021
“Kill ’em on a song walk up out the booth, do the Westbrook rock-a-baby.” pic.twitter.com/27X7RJmDIb
— ESPN (@espn) May 14, 2021
” ja morant i’m on my grizzly ” heard you @JColeNC 🤝😤
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) May 14, 2021
“Leave the booth and do the Westbrook”🔥🔥🔥
— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) May 14, 2021
Hornets have a Rookie of the Year candidate.
North Carolina 📈🛸 pic.twitter.com/yvWDnahii3
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 14, 2021
☁️ COLE WORLD ☁️
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) May 14, 2021
On repeat 🔁 pic.twitter.com/VnEht603eu
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) May 14, 2021
The 36-year-old rapper is preparing to suit up in the Basketball Africa League as his Rwandan Patriots will play in the first BAL game Sunday against Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers.
It’s official. Shooting guard Jermaine Cole, also known as @JColeNC, will be wearing No. 15 for the Rwanda Patriots BBC in the @theBAL. First game Sunday against Nigeria River Hoopers. pic.twitter.com/AhCO8F0GyE
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) May 14, 2021