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J. Cole, once offered Pistons tryout, has new album dropping


J. Cole interacts with fans during the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte.

J. Cole interacts with fans during the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte.
Image: Getty Images

 “Hands … in the … air … now … hands … in the … AIR!” 

J. Cole, a former almost-Detroit Piston and aspiring NBA athlete, St. John’s University legend, and one of the best hip-hop artists in the world, is dropping a new album on May 14.

If you remember, during the early stages of COVID last summer — which feels like five years ago — there was that whole “J. Cole is trying out for the NBA thing,” and it took off because we were bored off our asses. Cole even reportedly told Master P — who famously dropped eight points in an NBA preseason game, and actually had brief stints with the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors — that he was pretty serious.

“When I talked to J. Cole, he was like ‘You know, big dawg, you did it. What do you think I would have to do to make it happen?” P recalled to TMZ last summer, later noting that Cole being 6-foot-3 was advantageous. “But, what I told him … [this is] a different time we’re in. 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’re gonna have to go somewhere where the team really believes in you, and the players believe in you.”

P later added on to Cole’s NBA aspirations, “I believe in him, and I believe that he’s a youngster that has a lot of desire.”

And from there, shit got real … to some degree.

The Pistons offered Cole, who is legitimately a good basketball player, a tryout. It was probably because the Pistons knew they would suck and needed a jolt to provide a semblance of intrigue into what has been another year not worth caring about. [They did trade for his boy Dennis Smith Jr. during the season, though.]

It was around the same time we saw clips of him playing well in the infamous Summit Gym among other NBA players.

But yeah, the former St. John’s walk-on is back, dropping another album, and The Off-Season will be his sixth solo effort, as well as his first since KOD was released in 2018. If you’re into numbers and shit, he’s had five straight No. 1 Billboard 200 albums, a historical feat that DMX was the first to accomplish in hip-hop.

As far as his basketball career goes, who knows? Maybe he’s getting his album release out of the way in time to try this again during the upcoming summer. It didn’t appear to be a full-fledged attempt because he probably would’ve taken the Pistons (yes, even them) up on their offer. But even if it were, it would’ve been better than that horrendous MyCareer NBA 2K18 storyline. [It’s the one where you’re a failed fucking DJ attempting to make it into the whole-ass NBA under the nickname of … wait for it … wait more for it … wait just two more seconds for it … DJ!]

Anyway, in a slow year for hip-hop, good for Cole having the courage to drop an album before we’re really back to normal. The hesitancy from others [not Griselda, of course] has shown, and now he’ll be the most significant act to release a full-length project in the genre this year. That is unless the May 7 Top Dawg Entertainment album is Kendrick Lamar’s. [Hopefully, it is, so we could have a great month all around.]





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