Fayetteville’s J. Cole to play in NBA’s new league in Africa


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 17: J. Cole watches the action during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

(WNCN) — J. Cole can now add “professional basketball player” to his many talents and accomplishments after he reportedly is set to play for the Rwanda Patriots of the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

J. Cole’s signing with Rwanda is expected to become official Thursday. He arrived in Rwanda on Saturday and is in quarantine, according to The Undefeated. 

The rapper and songwriter will surely attract eyes and ears to the new and upcoming BAL, a partnership between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

The 36-year-old born Jermaine Lamarr Cole grew up in Fayetteville and played basketball for Terry Sanford High School. He landed an opportunity as a walk-on for the St. John’s men’s basketball team but chose to focus on his music career before ever playing a game. 

The BAL is considered Africa’s premier basketball league and will tip-off play on May 16. The league was set to start in March 2020 but was pushed back due to COVID-19.

The league will feature 12 teams that will play total of 26 games at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda. 

The competition will tip off with an 18-game group phase with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four. 

During the group phase, each team will face the three other teams in its group once. 

The top eight teams from the group phase will qualify for the playoffs, which will be single elimination in all three rounds.

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