Wednesday December 6, 2023

J. Cole Set to Join NBA’s Basketball Africa League

  • J Cole is joining the Rwanda Patriots of the Basketball Africa League, the centerpiece of the NBA's investment in Africa.
  • The league features 12 teams, each hailing from a different country.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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It looks like J. Cole will be taking his talents to the Basketball Africa League. If he can make shots with the same consistency he delivers No. 1 albums, he’ll be a difference-maker.

Basketball has been a constant theme of the St. John’s walk-on turned multi-platinum rapper’s music. He earned an estimated $31 million in 2019, per Forbes, and was the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation.

His RS Dreamer sneaker, produced in partnership with Puma, has been worn in NBA games by Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, and others. Jay-Z joined Puma as creative director in 2018. Last week, the company reported that Q1 2021 revenue was up 25.8% year-over-year to $1.88 billion.

Cole should provide a jolt of star power to the BAL as it gears up for the start of its inaugural season on May 16, two days after Cole releases his sixth album, “The Off-Season.”

  • The Basketball Africa League, a 12-team league founded by the NBA and FIBA, was initially set to launch in March 2020. 
  • Nike and Jordan Brand are sponsors of the league will produce jerseys for half of the league’s teams. Pepsi is also a sponsor.
  • Each team hails from a different country, with every region of Africa represented. Cole is joining the Rwanda Patriots.

The BAL is the centerpiece of the NBA’s investment into Africa. Last August, the league appointed investment banker Victor Williams, formerly of Goldman Sachs and Standard Bank Group, to lead its development efforts on the continent.

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