An athlete currently competing in the ongoing Basketball Africa League competition in Rwanda has questioned why rapper J. Cole was signed to a team. AS Salé guard and former University of Maryland player Terrell Stoglin said the rapper’s presence was “disrespectful” as he denied other deserving professional players the chance of being recruited.
Stoglin made those comments while speaking to ESPN on Monday. “I think there’s a negative and a positive [to J. Cole playing for the BAL],” Stoglin said. “The negative part of it is I think he took someone’s job that deserves it.”
Stoglin also appeared to suggest the award-winning rapper isn’t cut out for the competition and he denied other professional players who have been out of job because of the COVID-19 pandemic the opportunity to compete in the league.
“I live in a basketball world,” Stoglin said. “I don’t live in a fan world. I know a lot of guys that had their careers stopped by COVID and they’re still home working out and training for an opportunity like this. For a guy who has so much money and has another career to just come here and average, like, one point a game and still get glorified is very disrespectful to the game. It’s disrespectful to the ones who sacrificed their whole lives for this.”
Despite Stoglin’s sentiments, he admitted The Off-Season rapper’s presence in the league gives it some spotlight. “The positive side of it is it brings a lot of attention, and, I guess, money. I don’t really pay attention to that type of stuff. I’m more… You took someone’s job that deserved it,” he said.
J. Cole signed to play at least three games in the Basketball Africa League with the Rwanda Patriots. He featured in games against Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club (Nigeria) as well as Union Sportive Monastirienne (Tunisia).
Speaking to ESPN, the Patriots’ chief operations officer, Haydee Ndayishimiye, said the team signed the rapper solely for basketball reasons, adding that that has even manifested as they’ve made it to the top eight.
“Of course, someone as famous as him will bring a lot of attention, but one thing the BAL, Patriots BBC and his team have committed to do is to treat him like any other player,” Ndayishimiye said. “He’s a great basketball player and wants to play the game like everyone else. We understand some other teams may feel this way [as Stoglin does], but we made a basketball decision first.
“We put together a team that we think can win the BAL championship. We have a roster of over 20 players that were ready to compete, but the final roster could only be 13. We made a basketball decision which can be justified by our performance so far.”
A die-hard basketball fan, J. Cole has never hidden his ambition of playing professionally. While in school, he played for North Carolina’s Terry Sanford High School basketball team and later became a walk-on player for St. John’s University. That was before he ventured into rap.
Meanwhile, a source on Wednesday revealed the rapper has parted ways with the Rwanda Patriots after completing his contractual obligation. The source also said he has left Rwanda to attend to a “family obligation.” The rapper departs the league five points, three assists and five rebounds after playing three games, the source added.