J. Cole dropped his sixth studio album, “The Off-Season,” on Friday but with a special surprise for NBA fans and players.
Damian Lillard’s voice could be heard at the beginning of “p u n c h i n ‘ . t h e . c l o c k.” The rapper and soon-to-be professional basketball player sampled the guard’s postgame interview when he put up 61 points in a win over the Mavericks on Aug. 11, 2020.
“It ain’t nothing I want more. Ain’t nothing I want more,” Lillard said after Portland’s victory. “I told you when I first came here, I ain’t come here to waste my time. They gave us a chance to get in like we asked for and that’s what we’re here to do.”
But J. Cole, who is standing in front of a burning basketball hoop on the album cover, didn’t stop there with the NBA references.
The 36-year-old name-dropped several stars on the album, including LeBron James on track “100 Mil'” (“Can’t leave the game yet, I feel like LeBron”), Russell Westbrook on “Amari” (“Kill ’em on a song, walk up out the booth, do the Westbrook rock-a-baby”) and Ja Morant on “My Life” (“Ja Morant, I’m on my Grizzly”).
Other NBA stars were quick to applaud J. Cole on the latest album. Wizards’ Bradley Beal spent the morning tweeting and sharing different lyrics while Pistons’ Dennis Smith Jr. called it the “a l b u m . o f . t h e . y e a r.”
Meanwhile, Hawks star Trae Young tweeted the lyric, “If I’m bettin on myself then I completely double down.”
J. Cole is expected to make his professional basketball debut on Sunday in the Basketball Africa League with Rwanda’s Patriots BBC. Tip-off is set for 7 a.m. ET and the game will air on ESPNews.
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