Jermaine Cole (also known as J. Cole) has many accolades including two platinum albums, multiple platinum songs, and being known as one of the best rappers of all time. He has the ability to amaze his audience with his storytelling ability and his lyrical flow that fit seamlessly in with the beat. But will this next step in Cole’s life flow as well as his rap game?
Cole has always been passionate about basketball. He played at Terry Sanford High School and didn’t make the team as a freshman, but stuck around as the team manager. Michael Broadhurst was Cole’s high school coach and saw the potential in Jermaine, not just on the court but in life. He saw the hardworking, confident loudmouth kid Cole was, and through all of that a future successful man. After Cole didn’t make the team he started working with AB Lehmann who was the MVP during Cole’s senior year. When asked about it Cole told Sports Illustrated that “That was the first time I started working like a real basketball player: A thousand shots a day, sprints, minute drills, one-on-one full court with the star player on the team, every day, literally, for the entire school year then the entire summer. Then I also sprouted up to 6’2″. That growth spurt definitely helped because by his senior year he was a valuable player for his team. He played anywhere between the 3-5 but he mostly played wing, and he was a lockdown defender. Cole said that he wasn’t the best player on the team but his skills improved immensely from his freshman year to his senior. Cole believed that he was good enough to be a bench player at a D1 school.
After his senior year, Cole went up to St. John’s University in New York City. He didn’t try out for the team due to the fact he was trying to familiarize himself with his new environment and life. Jermaine was born in Frankfurt, Germany where his father (an American soldier) met his mother (a German postal worker). His father left his mother and his mother decided to move with him and his older brother Zach to Fayetteville, North Carolina. Cole became a violinist in high school and started to teach himself to rap. Sadly his life had some bumps, such as his mother dealing with drug abuse, and being in and out of bad relationships involving physical abuse and with other relationships dealing with drugs. While up in New York he tried to make the St. Johns team his sophomore year. He didn’t make it because the team was in a rebuilding phase and they weren’t looking for walk-ons. After receiving a scholarship Jermaine graduated magna cum laude in 2007 with a degree in communications.
Cole decided after that sophomore year that basketball was just a pipe dream and that music was his real passion. But even with that decision, Cole has always stayed around basketball. His junior year he was at the women’s basketball practices helping develop their skills by playing in scrimmages against them. He was always around the courts playing pickup games and even joined an intramural league during college.
Cole has remained close to the sport even through the years. He played in the Celebrity All-Star Game in 2012 where he had an impressive dunk that brought the crowd to its feet. In 2019 J. Cole held a halftime performance show during the All-Star game and also attempted a dunk during the dunk contest (though he did miss it). He even has his own signature shoe and sponsorship with Puma.
But could he really make a team? Jermaine is now 35 years old and does not have the athleticism of most of the players in the league (looking at you Nikola Jokic, and Steph Curry). But still, at the ripe age of 35, he has decent athleticism (for a normal guy). Through highlights on his own and others’ Instagram posts show that he has been training hard to make it into the league. There are clips of Jermaine playing games with NBA stars such as Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and Trae Young. In all of these clips, they show something new J. Cole was yet to showcase.
Cole said that he is contemplating retiring from the music business after his next album but that he also has a plan to be known as the greatest of all time. If he does choose to at least take a step back from music he already has a “job interview” available in Detroit (That being with the Detroit Pistons who have invited Cole to a tryout earlier this month). Only time will tell what will come of this story but in 2020 crazier things have happened and nothing is out of the picture.