J. Cole’s hoop dreams are alive and well. After signing with Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Scarborough Shooting Stars last week, Complex did some digging and connected Cole’s north of the border business trip back to a birthday party hosted by Drake.
Nicholas “Niko” Carino is a close friend of Drake’s who’s a co-founder of OVO. He also happens to be a part-owner of the Shooting Stars. Cole and Carino met up at Drake’s birthday party last year and started to talk about a potential opportunity and the rest is history.
“You know, Dreamville and OVO are family,” Carino said. “Drake had a birthday party in L.A. last year. The conversation was, ‘I heard you have your team.’ It organically grew from there.”
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The league is set to host its season openers on Thursday (May 26) with the Shooting Stars paying a visit to the Guelph Nighthawks. The 37-year-old rapper has earned the respect of his teammates in his short training camp stint prior to the season kicking off this week.
“J. Cole, he’s really putting in the work,” forward Olu Famutimi said. “Whatever we’re doing, he’s doing probably even more. Comes in early, stays late, and his drive right now, he wants to become better and wants to be known as a guy that can really hoop.”
The Dreamville leader previously suited up for three games with the Rwanda Patriots BBC in the Basketball Africa League last year. Either way, he appears to have the respect of his rap peers as former hooper Dave East and Fivio Foreign gave Cole his kudos for chasing his hoop dreams.
J. Cole putting in work on the basketball court. ? pic.twitter.com/u1hMBF5l7e
— Culture Jam (@culturejam) May 13, 2022