Rapper J. Cole shouts out Russell Westbrook and Ja Morant in new album, NBA world reacts

After a three-year hiatus, rapper and J. Cole, the new shooting guardfor Patriots BBC, a Rwandan club in the Basketball Africa League,released his sixth studio album titled "The Off-Season." Despite spending the greater part of the past decade focusing on a multiplatinum music career, his basketball roots run deep.

Cole was a star basketball player at Sanford (North Carolina) High School before a short stint as a walk-on at St. John's University.

The North Carolina native also drew attention during the 2019 Dunk Contest when he performed at All-Star Weekend in his home state and nearly threw down a one-handed dunk:

The second song of the album, titled "p u n c h i n ' . t h e . c l o c k.", features audio fromPortland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard's postgame interview after he put up 61 points in the NBA Bubble against the Dallas Mavericks. Lillard andCJ McCollumacknowledged the sample:

Hislatest project features multiple NBA references, including toRussell Westbrook, Ja Morantand Stephen Curry. The mentions received plenty of attention on social media:

The 36-year-old rapper is preparing to suit up in the Basketball Africa League, an NBA-backed league featuring 12 teams in 12 African countries. Patriots BBC will play in the first BAL game Sunday against Nigeria's Rivers Hoopers.

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