How J. Cole helped the Miami Heat sign rising star Caleb Martin

May 31, 2023

The NBA playoffs are always about unexpected heroes, but even by those standards, the Miami Heat’s Caleb Martin’s story is especially Rudy-esque. As broadcasters like to mention, he was one of nine undrafted players on the Heat’s roster and the player who helped them the most in the playoffs, a Key factor in the team’s meteoric rise in the Eastern Conference. In 18 games, Martin helped a Heat team that barely made the playoffs reach the Finals, averaging a career-high in pts per game and shooting with mechanical precision. It’s an exaggeration to say he probably wouldn’t be in this case if it weren’t for his unlikely connection to the mega-rapper.

In an article published on May 27, Martin talked about his connection to J. Cole and how the North Carolina MC could help get Martin signed by Miami in the 2021 offseason. Martin went undrafted, spent two inconsequential years with the Charlotte Hornets, and had no place in the NBA. Fortunately, Cole has a close relationship with Miami Heat assistant coach and former NBA All-Star Caron Butler, who rose to fame in “The Autograph,” Cole’s groundbreaking 2010 A fan-favorite cut from his mixtape “Friday Night Lights.”

“Some guys, when they call you about a particular guy, the message and the help speak louder than others,” Butler told the source about Cole’s recommendation of Martin. Martin grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he was a standout player before he and his twin brother moved to Nevada. According to Martin, when Martin was at NC State, he played basketball in the same gym as Cole, and they’ve known each other since 2014.

“It shows that even though he’s skilled and has many other things to worry about, he’s worried about his people. He thinks I’m one of his people,” Martin told the Charlotte Observer in 2021. That’s fantastic.” He knew where I was. He sees me working out in the gym every day, and you can tell he appreciates people who [work out] like him, so it’s a blessing because he’s there to reach out and do what he can. ”

Cole, an avid basketball player himself, having played in the African Basketball League and the Canadian Elite Basketball League in recent years, has a history of supporting North Carolina-born basketball players. On 21 Savage’s “A Lot,” he’s known for calling out Dennis Smith Jr., and Butler told the source that Cole also called him about Smith.

Martin had a string of good games in the Heat’s win over the Boston Celtics, including scoring 25 points in Game 2 and another strong drive in Game 3 to give the Heat Got a 3-0 cushion that proved insurmountable last night for the much-favored Celtics. Martin told the source that Cole was hot to his friend after Game 3.

“He jumps up and down, man. He’s as hyped as anyone else,” Martin said. “And he doesn’t want any attention for it. Not that he doesn’t like it or anything like that, but he’s a very unpopular guy.”

The Heat have a long history of developing raw rookies into valuable contributors, and their 2022-23 roster includes multiple undrafted players like Martin, Haywood Highsmith, and Gabe Vincent Special.

Martin’s deal with the Heat runs through the end of the 2023-24 season, but if he continues to thrive on the NBA Finals stage and into next year, his free-agent deal could put him in the same NBA league as the star rapper who helped him. Tax bracket he got to Miami. Cole, meanwhile, continued to show a fine eye for basketball talent as Smith Jr. had a career-saving year with the Hornets. MC loves flirting with retirement; when he finally hangs up the mic, he should consider going full-time as an NBA scout.