Rapper J. Cole has been quite open about his desire to be a professional basketball player, discussing that in a 2020 Players’ Tribune article. He played in three games for the Rwanda-based Patriots Basketball Club in the Basketball Africa League last year, and he joined the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Scarborough Shooting Stars last month. Cole (seen above performing at his Dreamville Festival in Raleigh, NC in April) has played in three games for Scarborough so far, and while he hasn’t played much (he’s averaging eight minutes and two points per game), his presence has sparked some increased U.S. interest in the team and the league. That’s led to Bleacher Report announcing Friday that they’ll stream Saturday’s Shooting Stars game (7:30 p.m. ET, against the Hamilton Honey Badgers) in the U.S. on their app.
Bleacher Report will be picking up the CBC feed of this game, which is the Shooting Stars’ first home game (the CEBL has been playing since 2019, but Scarborough is one of three expansion teams that came in this year). That will be called by former TSN voice Rod Black, former U SPORTS and international player Warren Ward, and Raptors’ host Savanna Hamilton. Here’s more on the broadcast from a B/R release:
On Saturday, June 4 Bleacher Report will livestream the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) game between the Hamilton Honey Badgers and Scarborough Shooting Stars tipping off at 7:30 PM ET. The Shooting Stars roster will include the multi-talented J Cole who has now played three games in the CEBL following a previous stint in the Basketball Africa League where he played three games for the Rwanda Patriots BBC. The exclusive livestream event will only be available on the B/R app in the U.S. and will mark the first CEBL event streamed by Bleacher Report.
…Fans watching on the B/R app will be able to utilize the platform’s functionality to comment on the game in real-time with other B/R app users. Bleacher Report will also cover and amplify all the action across its #1 most engaged social channels.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with Bleacher Report to deliver a CEBL live game experience to their vast audience. The exposure of the CEBL and our entertaining brand of basketball through B/R will ensure fans everywhere have access to watch NBA and top level international talent on a platform that fits so perfectly with the cultural and global component of our game,” said Mike Morreale, CEO & Commissioner, CEBL.
Bleacher Report has been doing a lot of streams in their app recently, from streams of TBS esports events to alternate NHL on TNT feeds to content around various editions of The Match to a NFL Draft show and a Dwyane Wade-hosted Next 25 series. But this is an interesting one for them to pick up, one with a significant pop culture component beyond just sports (which is something they’ve explored a bit over the years through live events). We’ll see how much playing time Cole gets in this game, what kind of audience it draws, and if it leads to any further U.S. broadcasts of CEBL games.
[Photo from Andrew Craft/The Fayetteville Observer, via USA Today Sports]