J. Cole on St John’s Career, Playing w/ Penny, Dunk Judging w/ LeBron + Best Basketball References

“I ball, I ball like Kobe in the fall. Put trophies on the wall”

That’s one of the many basketball references that Grammy nominated hip hop artist J.Cole has put in one of his songs and on NBA All-Star Weekend his talents off and on the court will be on full display.  So the question is, does he have any basketball skills or is he just a mega fan.  We have seen him talking about basketball in Nike commercials, seen him shoot around with Kevin Durant and heard the hoop references in his music but he says he was good enough to be a walk on at St John’s University and can throw down.   Let’s take a look at his schedule for NBA AllStar weekend then an interview about hoops with ESPN and then a few videos and a list of his top 10 basketball references.

The first thing on his schedule will be playing in the Sprint Celebrity NBA All-Star game on Friday (ESPN).   Dwight Howard & Kevin Durant will be coaching the East & West teams and the game will feature past Magic greats Penny Hardaway & Nick Anderson and musicians Ne-Yo & Common among other TV celebrities.

As soon as the game ends, he will be taking a seat with LeBron James & Darryl Dawkins  to judge the best amateur (and arguably best overall) dunkers at AllStar weekend at the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown event.  J.Cole will also be performing before or after the Showdown.  Drake was the last rapper to fill this seat and when he performed LeBron became the most expensive hype man in hip hop history rapping along with Drake…without a microphone. This event will be streamed live on nba.com and then televised Saturday on NBATV

Then on Sunday,  J.Cole will be part of a pregame concert to the NBA AllStar game that will also feature Gym Class Heroes and Penatronix.  He will be performing “Work Out” and “Can’t Get Enough.”

The following is an ESPN interview with J.Cole about his love for basketball.

I hear you’re a huge basketball fan.

“Yeah, I am. Just playing and loving the game. I’m a huge, huge, huge Penny Hardaway fan. He’s my favorite player. I followed him and my favorite team became wherever he was at. I’m a fan of players. I’m a Laker fan, but only because of Kobe. Once he goes, I’m sure I won’t watch the Lakers anymore. I’m a big Kevin Durant fan. Derrick Rose. Chris Paul. I’m a fan of players. I’m looking for home, though, so I’ll be taking applications for my favorite team.”

You can dunk, right?

“Yeah, I can dunk.”

What’s the best part of your game?

“I’m a scorer, but I can score many different ways. I’m not a pure jump shooter. I’m more like poor man’s Dwyane Wade. I’m more comfortable doing a step-back or a fadeaway. The harder the shot, the more determined I am to make it. I definitely have defense. I have reach, so I use that. But my favorite part of my game is the scoring. I’m becoming a better passer as time goes on.”

Since you’re a North Carolina fan, what Duke player did you hate the most?

“J.J. Redick is definitely on the list, even though I give him respect for what he’s done in the league. I definitely thought he’d never amount to anything. He’s surpassed my expectations. But man, Josh McRoberts … he’s so trash! They tried to say he was the truth. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Am I the only one who sees that this guy is terrible?’ But that’s why Coach K really is one of the greatest. He takes these mediocre, talented players who might have an incredible jump shot or do one thing really well and he just hones in on it. He turns them into a college star, but when they get to the league, they’re exposed. Oh man, I was such a hater of Josh McRoberts, but I hope he’s doing well in life now.”

Who’s your favorite athlete ever?

“Michael Jordan is definitely my favorite athlete of all time when it comes to the greats, just for what he stood for and what he represented. But my personal favorite was Penny Hardaway. I was such a huge fan of his game, to the point where I followed his whole career, at every stage.”

What happened with your basketball career at St. John’s?

“I played my best basketball, period, my freshman and sophomore year of college. My freshman year, I was brand-new to New York, didn’t have any family there. I didn’t take the necessary steps to figure out what I had to do to try out for the team. So I missed the tryout freshman year. Come to find out these dudes made the team — and no disrespect to them — I’m like, what? Y’all made the team? I felt terrible because if I would have went out, I would have definitely made the team. The next year I go out with maybe 70 kids trying out. I had a great day of tryouts and they called back 10 of us out of the 70 to come back the next day at 6 a.m. But I had seen from the previous year the kids that did make that team, I saw how their life totally flipped. Once you made that team, they went from hanging out with us every day to waking up at 6 a.m., walking back around like [midnight], tired as hell, three practices a day. Your whole life is devoted to that and you’re not even getting into the game. To go from a walk-on to actually getting some time, is a fight. I believed I could do it, but it was a problem because I knew it wasn’t my real calling at the time.”

How did you get cut twice from your high school basketball team?

“I had to go to a different middle school because my mom wouldn’t allow me to go to the school I was supposed to go to because she didn’t think it was the best school for me. I went to a middle school that was a public school but you had to wear uniforms, it was more focused on academics and they didn’t have a basketball team. I was still playing rec ball and all the people I grew up playing basketball with were playing middle school ball. So when I got to ninth grade, I was good, but I was still at that level of when we were all playing rec ball together. I had talent, but I didn’t have the organizational skills. Instead, I became the manager of the team. Now, you would think that next year I’d just make the team off of GP [general principle]. Don’t you know my name was on the cut list? I was heartbroken. You talk about disbelief. I realized I had to kick it into the next year.”

Compiled by Roc4life.com

10. “Work Out”
AlbumCole World: The Sideline Story
“Man that thing in them jeans too fat for it. Rebound, so I caught her off the backboard.”

9. “Heartache”
AlbumThe Warm Up
“You looking at LeBron James of the game. I could do anything that you name.”

8. “College Boy”
AlbumThe Come Up
“We get ass like them basketball niggas, I’m balling. Got a sidekick so them hoes don’t be calling.”

7. “Cole World”
AlbumCole World: The Sideline Story
“Money was an issue, but now that that’s solved. I ball, I ball like Kobe in the fall.”

6. “Heavy”
Album: N/A
“Yeah, I’m a breath of fresh air you can place your bets here. Balling like a Laker you should pray for next year.

5. “Beautiful Bliss”
AlbumAttention Deficit
“All I wanna do is eat I’m like a freaky lesbian. Now all I wanna do is ball on TV, need E-S-P-N.”

4. “Return of Simba”
Album: N/A
“Being good is good that’ll get you Drew Gooden, but me I want Jordan numbers, LeBron footing.”

3. “Higher”
AlbumFriday Night Lights
“Down in Dallas at the All-Star game, spitting all-star game. Tryna get a nigga with an all-star name, something like James, something like Wade.”

2. “Dead Presidents II”
AlbumThe Warm Up
“My whole life practice to be the one. What it’s like to be Lebron. They calling you the savior so much pressure, but you deal with it.”

1. “Sideline Story”
AlbumCole World: The Sideline Story

“But, you’ll never play me like LeBron vs. Jordan. Twenty years wonder who they gone say was more important. Both changed the game, came through and made a lane. Who’s to say that who’s greater, all we know they ain’t the same.”


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