J. Cole is set to undergo a surprising career change, being the latest team member for African basketball team, the Rwanda Patriots.
ESPN reports that Cole is currently completing a two-week quarantine in Rwanda in order to compete in the Basketball Africa League, with an official announcement of his signing to come this Thursday (May 13). The Patriots’ first game of the season is scheduled to take place this coming Sunday, in which they will face off against the Nigeria River Hoopers.
Although primarily known for his music, Cole originally pursued a career as a basketball player in high school and university.
He played for both Sanford High in North Carolina and for the St. John’s Red Storm in New York, before ultimately shifting his focus to hip-hop full-time in 2007. Cole’s surprise signing to the Patriots will mark his first time as a professional basketball player.
Cole’s sixth studio album – ironically titled ‘The Off-Season’ – is scheduled for release this Friday May 14. The project was created in tandem with his other forthcoming studio album, ‘The Fall Off’, and was recorded between 2018 and 2021.
NBA insider Shams Charania also confirmed the news on Twitter: “J. Cole is one of two import signings by Rwanda’s Patriots B.B.C. team in Basketball Africa League, joining former NC State star Brandon Costner. Album drops on Friday. First pro basketball game in FIBA/NBA league on Sunday.”
J. Cole is one of two import signings by Rwanda's Patriots B.B.C. team in Basketball Africa League, joining former NC State star Brandon Costner.
Album drops on Friday. First pro basketball game in FIBA/NBA league on Sunday. https://t.co/gXytKIDQvN
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 10, 2021
Few details are known about the album aside from featuring the song ‘Interlude’, which Cole released last week.
On Monday, Cole shared a four-part documentary on YouTube entitled Applying Pressure: The Off-Season, documenting his life in and out of the studio.