J. Cole, Dennis Smith Jr.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Rapper J. Cole, who grew up in the same city as Dennis Smith Jr., attended New York Knicks practice on Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday, the New York Knicks came together for practice, trying to correct the mistakes from Friday night’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. This, in an attempt not to indulge themselves in the same issues against the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon.

Luckily, they had a very special guest in attendance at their facility. Sitting off to the side was none other than J. Cole. The rapper, who’s released five platinum albums up to this point, actually grew up in the same city as Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. Both spent the early parts of their lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Cole has a connection with New York, being that he went to college and earned his degree at St. John’s University in Queens. He made the team as a walk-on but ultimately decided to focus on music instead.


Smith stuck around in North Carolina after his upbringing, however, spending one year at North Carolina State University. The Dallas Mavericks selected him with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, only to trade him to the Knicks prior to last year’s deadline.

So far this year, Smith has appeared in 12 games, averaging 5.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. He’s doing this on 34.3% shooting from the field and 31.8% from behind the arc.

The Knicks are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference at 4-15. They’ll tip off against the Celtics on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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