Photo courtesy of Scarborough Shooting Stars
J. Cole’s return to the hardwood was met with universal praise from both fans and peers alike. Inking a deal to play professional basketball in Canada last month, The Off-Season emcee has unfortunately checked in with the Scarborough Shooting Stars for the last time.
The North Carolina legend announced his departure from the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) after his final game with the team on Wednesday (June 8). Posting a career-high six points, Cole announced his leave in a post-game interview, saying that he would be stepping away for an unknown amount of time to fulfill his upcoming tour duties. He primarily served as contributing player off the bench in Scarborough, garnering court-side support from Toronto native Drake and the hip-hop community as a whole.
“I was telling the guys in there like, ‘I’m going for these shows, I’m not sure if I’ll be back.’ But just in case, I had to let them know how incredible this was. The players, the coaching staff, the organization, the league, it’s a crazy thing when you see it on paper, when you see what’s actually happening, and they made me feel so welcome.”J. Cole via post-game interview
Cole also took a moment to appreciate the people of Scarborough for the love they’ve shown him over the last few weeks. “I gotta shout-out the people of Scarborough because coming from America, I didn’t really know,” he said. “So I’ve learned so much that the people there feel seen with this basketball team and this league highlighting them.”
“The people there feel seen and I’m assuming that was not always the cause, so I’m proud to be able to add something to Canada and to this talent that’s in Canada. Those guys are incredible so to be able to get some extra eyes on them is a pleasure.”J. Cole praising the people of Scarborough
Following his stint with the BAL Rwanda Patriots BBC in 2021, The Athletic initially broke the news of Cole’s comeback to professional hoops on May 19. Similarly, his time in the Basketball Africa League (BAL) was also very short lived — completing his contract in just three games and posting five points, three assists and five rebounds.
While this was Cole’s second consecutive year playing out his hoop dreams, his previous contract in the BAL came in conjunction with the release of his GRAMMY-winning album The Off-Season, as both moves occurred within the same week.
Off the back of Dreamville’s eclectic Gangsta Grillz mixtape D-DAY, J. Cole has also lent his vocals on a variety of tracks this year — the most notable being BIA’s “LONDON” in April and Benny The Butcher’s “Johnny P’s Caddy” in January.
As Cole continues to assert his dominance in the booth, here’s hoping he makes his way back to the court in the near future.
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