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J. Cole

J. Cole joined the Rwanda Patriots BBC this season, a move that at least one other Basketball Africa League player didn’t appreciate. (Robb D. Cohen/Invision/AP)

Not everybody is happy with J. Cole joining the Basketball Africa League.

AS Sale guard Terrell Stoglin told ESPN that the rapper’s presence in the league in its inaugural season, despite all of the attention he has brought, is “disrespectful.”

“I think there’s a negative and a positive [to J. Cole’s presence],” he said, via ESPN. “The negative part of it is, I think he took someone’s job that deserves it.”

‘He took someone’s job that deserves it’

Cole joined the BAL’s Rwanda Patriots BBC and made his debut earlier this month. He dropped three points, three rebounds and two assists in his debut.

Cole, 36, was a high school standout in North Carolina and walked on to play at St. John’s University before he eventually left to focus on music.

Stoglin — who played two seasons at Maryland from 2010-12 — became the first player in the BAL to put up 40 points in a single game last week. AS Sale, a team out of Morocco, is currently third in Group South with a 5-3 record.

“I live in a basketball world. I don’t live in a fan world. I know a lot of guys that had their careers stopped by COVID and they’re still home working out and training for an opportunity like this,” he said, via ESPN.

“For a guy who has so much money and has another career to just come here and average, like, one point a game and still get glorified is very disrespectful to the game. It’s disrespectful to the ones who sacrificed their whole lives for this.

“The positive side of it is: it brings a lot of attention, and, I guess, money. I don’t really pay attention to that type of stuff. I’m more [concerned that] he took someone’s job that deserved it.”

Patriots: J. Cole is ‘a great basketball player’

Though Stoglin is critical, Patriots chief operations officer Haydee Ndayishimiye more than defended their decision to include Cole on the team.

Given his basketball background and the Patriots earning a spot in the playoffs, Ndayishimiye argued that it’s hard to criticize the move.

“Of course, someone as famous as him will bring a lot of attention, but one thing the BAL, Patriots BBC and his team have committed to do is to treat him like any other player,” she said, via ESPN.

“He’s a great basketball player and wants to play the game like everyone else. We understand some other teams may feel this way [as Stoglin does], but we made a basketball decision first.

“We put together a team that we think can win the BAL championship. We have a roster of over 20 players that were ready to compete, but the final roster could only be 13. We made a basketball decision which can be justified by our performance so far.”

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