J. Cole Makes Pro Basketball Debut And Scores No. 1 Album In The Same Month

J. Cole is having a busy month. 

The rapper’s latest album “The Off-Season,” which he released on May 14, has now topped the Billboard 200 chart, the publication announced Sunday. The feat comes one week after J. Cole made his pro basketball debut playing for the Rwandan team, Patriots Basketball Club, as part of the new Basketball Africa League, or BAL.

J. Cole responded to the news of his album’s success on Twitter over the weekend, noting that he was celebrating the achievement in Rwanda. 

“Sending a thank you from Rwanda! #1 album, I appreciate the love, I heard the noise from out here,” he tweeted. “‘The Off-Season’ means keep pushing yourself, I will do the same.”

J. Cole, 36, played his first game for the Patriots last Sunday, May 16, when the team took on, and ultimately defeated, Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club 83 to 60. The rapper ended the game with three points, two assists and three rebounds. He played for just under 18 minutes, according to ESPN.

“The Off-Season” artist, who was raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, played basketball in high school, and later tried out for his college basketball team at St. John’s University. 

He told Sports Illustrated in 2013 that he made the initial cuts at the university’s team tryouts as a walk-on, but that he skipped the tryouts held the following day due to his anxiety about losing his lifestyle at the time. 

“I was in love with music and I knew I wanted to rap,” he told the publication. “So I had to make a decision that I knew was going to change the trajectory of my life.”

J. Cole, whose full name is Jermaine Cole, has since openly reflected on his past approach to basketball, saying in a short documentary released earlier this month, “Applying Pressure: The Off-Season Documentary,” that he didn’t put in the work toward his game that he should have.

This is the BAL’s inaugural season. The NBA and FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, announced in 2019 that they were launching the league, which features 12 club teams across the African continent. 

J. Cole’s album, “The Off-Season,” scored other wins this month. It landed on the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s streaming songs chart for the first time, with the largest streaming week for any album this year, Billboard reported. 

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