'Shout-Out the People of Scarborough': J. Cole Leaves Shooting Stars to Go on Tour

·3 min read
Image via Sid Naidu
Image via Sid Naidu

After a memorable four games, J. Cole is stepping away from the Scarborough Shooting Stars to fulfill touring obligations, with no clear word on whether he’ll return.

The 37-year-old Grammy-winning rapper made headlines by signing with the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Shooting Stars in May. While he drew the team tons of attention by playing two road games (in Guelph and Montreal) and two home games with them, his time with the club appears to be up—at least for the time being.

On Wednesday night, after his best game with the Shooting Stars so far—hitting two three-pointers shattering his previous career high, and helping the team win 99-81 over the Newfoundland Growlers—Cole confirmed he’d be leaving the team to go on tour.

“I was telling the guys in there like, ‘I’m going for these shows, I’m not sure if I’ll be back,’” Cole said in an interview posted on the Shooting Stars’ Instagram account. “But just in case, I had to let them know how incredible this was. The players, the coaching staff, the organization, the league, it’s a crazy thing when you see it on paper, when you see what’s actually happening, and they made me feel so welcome.”

He also thanked the CEBL for allowing him to join the league and fulfill his hoop dreams. “It’s priceless what they’re allowing me to come in here and do and experience, so I really appreciate that,” he said.

Cole’s time with the Shooting Stars generated tons of excitement in every city he played in, with his games drawing sell-out crowds almost every time. In his interview, he took some time to thank his Canadian fans for showing him love.

“I wanna say thank you to the fans, the people of, first of all Canada, Toronto, and specifically Scarborough, because being in the city for now four weeks, however long it’s been, the amount of excitement that people show, and pride they show, they’re happy that I’m here. I appreciate that,” he said. “They’re excited for basketball in Canada and specifically Toronto, there’s so much pride in Toronto.”

Cole went on to specifically give props to Scarborough, the borough in the very east of Toronto that he admits he didn’t know a ton about prior to joining the team.

“I gotta shout-out the people of Scarborough because coming from America, I didn’t really know,” he said. “So I’ve learned so much that the people there feel seen with this basketball team and this league highlighting them. The people there feel seen and I’m assuming that was not always the cause, so I’m proud to be able to add something to Canada and to this talent that’s in Canada. Those guys are incredible so to be able to get some extra eyes on them is a pleasure.”

After host Savanna Hamilton dropped a Scarborough mans accent on him, Cole also praised the parlance of the people in his temporary home. “I’m not good with my lingo—every now and then I may break it out—but it was cool hearing everybody talk every day. Toronto slang is dope.”

Cole is set to play the Governors Ball Music Festival this weekend before continuing on a tour of the rest of the States and Europe.

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