From assisting in the dunk contest to performing at halftime, Cole owned Charlotte this weekend.
As Drake once proclaimed, “Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous / Cause we want to be them, and they want to be us” on “Thank Me Now”. And it’s true: athletes, specifically basketball players, and artists, specifically rappers, often harbor mutual fantasies about switching vocations, adopting a “grass is greener” mentality. While lucky few have the transcendent talent to excel professionally at both, rappers can dream about lacing up kicks on game day just as much as players can imagine their debut album. During this past NBA All-Star weekend, one man was able to live-out this fantasy.
Following Meek Mill’s MC-ing duties at last night’s All-Star game, which included introducing both Team Lebron and Team Giannis and performing hits like “Dreams and Nightmares”, J. Cole took the halftime stage by storm. Donned in a throwback Hornets jacket, paying homage to the weekend’s hosting city, Cole dazzled fans with a center court performance. In addition to playing his latest chart-topping single “Middle Child” and the 2018 NBA Playoff anthem “ATM”, Cole got nostalgic by digging into his bag of classics like “No Role Modelz” and “Love Yourz”.
The players owned the quarters at last night’s game; J. Cole owned the space in the middle. And while Cole’s big moment materialized musically, that doesn’t mean that his All-Star Weekend presence was exclusively backlit by it. On Saturday, Cole exchanged the pen and mic for his days of rocking #15 for the Fayetteville Bulldogs.
In a heated dunk contest between New York’s Dennis Smith Jr. and OKC’s Hamidou Diallo, Cole assisted the former in an exceptional athletic display. Seated near the block, Cole beautifully tossed the ball over his head, closed his eyes, and waited, hoped. The ball’s black lines and dots spinning in a blur as it neared its apex, Smith Jr. took flight to catch it in stride and slam it home over an admiring Cole. The crowd’s raucous cheers mirrored the round of applause given to pilots upon touching down.
As J. Cole says on “Middle Child”, “Dennis Smith Jr., stay solid my n*gga”. These two have chemistry, and for a moment, Cole was able to revert to a child wonderment of hoop dreams.
Check out Cole’s performance and assist to Smith Jr. below:
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 17, 2019