Never before has the Canadian Elite Basketball League stolen the headlines as they did on Thursday night.
Late on Thursday night, the Scarborough Shooting Stars announced they had signed pop-culture icon Jermaine Cole, better known for his stage name, J. Cole, to a contract. Thanks to this, the CEBL found themselves in the headlines from major publications such as Sportsnet, ESPN, Yahoo, and various other platforms. Additionally, the announcement Tweet from the CEBL garnered ludicrous amounts of engagement, a sure sign that this move has people interested.
While this move absolutely helps the Shooting Stars sell some tickets, it’s not like Cole brings no basketball experience to the table. In 2021, Cole played with the Rwanda Patriots in Basketball Africa League, where he played three games. In that time, Cole averaged 1.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, and one assist in 15 minutes per game. These numbers obviously aren’t spectacular, but he played just three games, and likely didn’t have much chemistry with his teammates whatsoever.
Although some of his opponents occasionally shared some negative thoughts about the Cole, the Patriots defended him. This wasn’t the case of a rapper suddenly deciding he wanted to play basketball. In high school, Cole played basketball and was a walk-on for St. John’s University, but didn’t make the team. He then chose to focus on his music, leaving hooping behind, at least for the time being.
Regardless of how well, or poorly, for that matter, Cole plays, it’s likely that his stay in the CEBL will be short. Cole is scheduled to go on tour, starting with a show in New York on July 10th. This means that Cole will likely suit up for away games against the Guelph Nighthawks, the Montreal Alliance, and the Ottawa BlackJacks, and two home games against the Hamilton Honeybadgers and the Newfoundland Growlers. Cole’s tour ends on July 28th, meaning in theory, he could be back for the final game of the season, and potentially the playoffs, should the Shooting Stars make it that far.
No matter how the Shooting Stars’ experiment with Cole goes, no matter how many games he plays, and no matter how many points he scores, this is a massive win for the team, the city of Scarborough, and the CEBL itself. The league is thriving, and now, they have a possible path to clout with Canada’s youth, something many other leagues around Canada have been trying to capture without any success for some time.
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