J. Cole has received plenty of success with his brand of rap that merges social consciousness, a traditional battle approach and catchy choruses, and according to Master P, Cole is trying to see if he can have that same good fortune in professional basketball.
The No Limit founder spoke with TMZ in an interview released on Saturday, Aug. 1, and said that Cole, who’s 35, is now training for an NBA tryout.
P knows plenty about moving back and forth from the vocal booth to the gym, seeing as while he was already a successful rapper he played in the late 1990s in the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association and got tryouts with the Charlotte Hornets and the Toronto Raptors.
He played in two exhibition games in 1999 with the Hornets and went 0-for-3 from the field before being waived by the team. That year P also played in six preseason games with the Raptors for a total of 23 minutes and shot 4-for-13 from the field prior to being dismissed.
Before trying to play in the NBA, P was a member of his high school team at Booker T. Washington in New Orleans. He was then set to play for the University of Houston but injured his knee.
P’s voice can now be heard in a newly released Puma ad for Cole’s RS-Dreamer basketball shoe. It was announced in February that Cole and Puma teamed up, and the RS-Dreamer is the first release under that partnership.
The “Make ‘Em Say Uhh” rapper talked about the NBA advice that he gave Cole and told him that his celebrity won’t do anything to help him secure a roster spot. If anything, P believes that Cole, who reportedly is 6 feet 3, will be more scrutinized because of his fame.
“So 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 that happen?'” P told TMZ at the 00:22 mark. “I said to get one of these NBA jerseys, it’s not going to be easy. … It’s going to be a lot of hate, it’s gonna be a lot of people not believing in you but you know J. Cole, he got the right size, he in the gym.”
“But, what I told him, this a different time we in,” P further explained. “They’re going to pick you apart. You’re gonna have to be able to hit every shot and if you don’t hit every shot — you know in the NBA, they don’t hit every shot but they believe in them — so you’re gonna have to go somewhere where the team really believe in you and the players believe in you.”
The Puma ad, released last week, shows a perspiring, physically exhausted Cole bending over close to the camera, while separate footage of him working on his jump shot can be seen in the background.
“You can’t be serious,” P can be heard saying in the clip. “I know you ain’t ’bout to try to do what I think you ’bout to try to do. ‘Cause that would be crazy. And you ain’t crazy, is you? I mean, what’s the odds? … I think the homie really trying to do it.”
Cole played two years of varsity basketball when he attended Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina from 1999-2003. He also tried out for the St. John’s University basketball team in his sophomore year at that school as a walk-on. He made the first cut and was invited back to tryouts but decided not to attend the second day.
“In my mind, I’d have made the team, who knows what would have really happened?” Cole told Sports Illustrated in 2013. “But I knew I wasn’t ready for that type of commitment and that lifestyle.”
Cole hasn’t mentioned anything about his alleged NBA pursuits at this time.