American rapper J Cole is set to play professional basketball for the Rwandan side of the BBC Patriots.
The team will face Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers on Sunday, opening the first-ever Basketball Africa League (BAL).
Rumors of the signing began when the musician, whose full name is Jermaine Lamarr Cole, was seen in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, over the weekend.
Team coach Alan Major then confirmed the news on Monday to public channel Rwanda TV.
According to sports news site The Undefeated, Cole arrived in Kigali on Saturday and is currently in quarantine ahead of Sunday’s game.
Rwandan newspaper The New Times also tweeted a video of Cole wearing a Patriots jersey, adding that he “could figure” in the NBA-backed league.
The 36-year-old Grammy Award winner is set to play three to six games this season, CBS reports.
J Cole is known to be a huge basketball fan and has referred to Lebron James and Michael Jordan in his music, but he has no professional basketball experience.
In 2012, he appeared in the NBA Celebrity All Star Game which takes place during the league’s annual All Star Weekend.
In the 2019 All Stars game, he performed during the half-time show.
‘I believe in him’
J Cole has already expressed his interest in professional basketball, according to some reports. His fellow rapper and basketball player Master P told TMZ last August that Cole hopes to be in the NBA.
“I believe in him and I believe that he is a young person who has a lot of desire,” said Master P at the time.
The NBA-backed BAL is giving advice this weekend, and J Cole’s signing, while unorthodox, has put the spotlight on this young basketball league.
If he makes his debut on Sunday, J Cole could clash with former NBA player Ben Uzoh who signed for Rivers Hoppers last month.
The 33-year-old played for the then New Jersey Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors in addition to playing in Europe.
He was part of the Nigerian winning Afrobasket 2015 team in Tunisia and a member of the D’Tigers team which competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2019 Men’s Basketball World Cup in China. .
Twelve countries from across the continent will have teams in BAL: Tunisia, Egypt, Angola, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon, Mali, Mozambique, Madagascar and Rwanda .