Basketball fans are on the edge of their seats as Game 1 of the NBA Finals takes place tonight at 5:30 pm PST between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets.
But audiences may not know that J. Cole played a pivotal role in the Miami Heat advancing to the NBA Finals. While he’s mostly known as being a rapper, he’s also a hooper, and his love for the sport shines through in many different avenues. Plus, he’s incredibly plugged in!
Apparently, J. Cole was the one who linked Miami Heat player Caleb Martin with assistant coach Caron Butler. Martin was first cut by the Charlotte Hornets back in 2021. At the time, he began to run pick-up games with J. Cole, and apparently, Martin showed out. The Dreamville CEO proceeded to rave about him to Butler, which resulted in an opportunity for Martin to try out for the Miami Heat.
The tryout went so well that Martin landed a minimum contract for the 2021-2022 NBA season, eventually signing a three-year $20 million deal last year. Fast forward to today, Martin has made a huge difference in the success of the Miami Heat, including their advancement to the Finals. At just 27 years old, Martin was able to really showcase his talents with all eyes on him during Game 7 of the Heat versus Celtics series, beating out NBA All-Star Jaylen Brown.
While Jimmy Butler took home the MVP trophy for the Eastern Conference Finals, Martin was just one vote short after averaging 19 points per game and 60% shooting from the field during the exciting series.
Martin even opened up on how J. Cole was among the first individuals to call him after the Heat triumphed in Game 7 against the Celtics. He tells The Dan LeBatard Show: “Cole called me right after the game. Everybody knows the story about Cole pretty much now, but Cole called me right after the game, and he was just so hyped jumping up and down.”
Martin also said he probably wouldn’t have gotten this far within J. Cole. “Honestly, the chances of me being here without [J. Cole] making a phone call and getting in touch with Caron, it would be pretty slim to none,” he states. “I definitely feel I wouldn’t be here for sure.”