J. Cole knows all too well that it’s good to have friends in high places in the music industry, and that same ideology applies to sports.
Cole has been crowned an unlikely hero in helping the Miami Heat reach the NBA Finals due to him connecting the dots between Heat player Caleb Martin and assistant coach Caron Butler.
When Martin was cut by the Hornets in 2021, Cole ran pick-up games with the former Nevada product, who dominated. The Dreamville honcho then raved about him to Butler, vouching for him to earn a tryout with the Miami Heat.
Martin aced the test and earned a minimum contract for the 2021-2022 season, before signing a three-year $20 million deal prior to this year.
Fast-forward to present day, and Martin has been an integral part of the Heat making the NBA Finals. The 27-year-old took his game to the next level as he out-dueled All-Star Jaylen Brown in the team’s seven-game series against the Boston Celtics.
Martin came within just one vote of snatching Eastern Conference MVP honors away from teammate Jimmy Butler after averaging 19 points per game in the series on 60 percent shooting from the field.
The Miami Heat don't get to the NBA Finals without Caleb Martin, which means they don't get there without J. Cole.
🔸Martin was cut by the Hornets in 2021.
🔸Ran pickup with J. Cole in North Carolina. They've known each other since 2014.
🔸J. Cole made some calls and connected… pic.twitter.com/yz73hLkYld
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 31, 2023
“The chances of me being here without him (J. Cole) making the phone call to Caron would be pretty slim to none.”
— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) May 31, 2023
Unsurprisingly, one of the first people to call the 6-foot-5 forward after the Heat won Game 7 in Boston to secure their place in the NBA Finals was J. Cole.
“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,” he told The Dan LeBatard Show.
Dan LeBatard followed-up by asking Martin if he thinks he would’ve ever landed a spot on the Heat’s roster had it not been for Cole.
“I don’t think so,” Martin responded. “Honestly, the chances of me being here without [J. Cole] making a phone call and getting in touch with Caron, it would be pretty slime-to-none. I definitely feel I wouldn’t be here for sure.”
Caleb Martin and the Heat are now looking to capture their first title since 2013 as they face off against the No. 1 seed out West, the Denver Nuggets, and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is set to tip-off on Thursday night (June 1) in Denver at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.