It appears J. Cole could be trading in the mic to suit up for the NBA.
Most recently, the North Carolina MC penned an essay, titled “The Audacity,” in The Players Tribune reflecting over his decade-long rap career. In the op-ed, Cole seemingly expressed a desire to pursue his hooping aspirations, and he’s already taking steps to make that happen.
While speaking to TMZ about his appearance in the commercial for Cole’s first signature sneaker collection with PUMA, fellow rapper and hip-hop impresario Master P shared that the Dreamville Records boss approached him for some advice about the possible transition.
“When I talked to J. Cole, he was like, ‘You know, big dog, you did it. What do you think I would have to do to make it happen?” the No Limit Records mogul recollected. “I said, to get one of these NBA jerseys, it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be a lot of hate, it's gonna be a lot of people not believing in you. But, you know, he got the right size.”
He added that the rapper has seriously been “in the gym” honing his physique. Master P acknowledged that Cole has his work set out for him as he won’t get a free pass into the NBA just because he is a world famous rap artist.
“You can’t just go there because you’re J. Cole the artist. Nobody cares about that,” he said. “They've been putting their whole life into this. So you're gonna have to prove you're worthy of being on that court. “I believe in him and I believe that he's a youngster that has a lot of desire.”
Master P famously held down brief stints with both the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto in the late 1990s. But he was never actually drafted to those teams and only played during the preseason. He never took to the court for regular games.
J. Cole’s court skills are nothing to sneeze at, though. The North Carolina rapper was once offered an opportunity to play basketball for his alma mater, St. Johns University, but he gave up his hoop dreams to pursue rap full-time. The 35-year-old opened up about his decision to put his aspirations on pause, revealing that he’d originally planned to exit the rap game at 27 to pursue basketball but deep-seated feelings of not reaching “the mountain top” in rap prevented him from doing so.
Now, Cole is gearing up to release his sixth studio album, The Fall Off. Though, there’s still no release date in sight for the project yet, he seemingly hinted that the record could possibly be his last album.
“The fire that was once dying out has returned, and for that I’m grateful. On my career bucket list, there remain a few more items to check off before I give myself permission to enter whatever the next chapter of my life may be,” Cole wrote. “However, as I approach the summit of this mountain, I still find myself staring at that other one in the distance, wondering if I can climb. At 35 years old, I know that sounds crazy when said out loud, but I believe all of the best dreams do.”