If there’s one thing NBA fans like, it’s a conspiracy theory. These hypotheses can stretch from draft lottery intrigues to referees, but sometimes they get more bizarre. A tongue-in-cheek version of this focuses on rapper J. Cole and 76ers star Tobias Harris. The two bear a resemblance. So NBA fans took it a step further and jokingly claimed they’re the same person.
Tobias Harris and J. Cole’s worlds collide
Tobias Harris has consistently been one of the most reliable journeyman stars in the NBA since coming in at 19. Despite his gradual ascension into stardom, however, Harris has found it hard to keep a permanent residence anywhere he played. The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Harris and then traded him to Orlando in his second year.
After two full seasons in Orlando, he was traded to the Detroit Pistons in year three. After one season in Detroit, the Pistons moved him to the Clippers in 2018. The Clippers eventually traded him to Philadelphia, where he remains to this day.
Harris’s journeyman status has to do with the fact that he keeps playing for bad teams and teams looking to shed salaries. Never the No. 1 option for his teams, Harris is a consummate roleplayer who can do a little bit of everything. J. Cole’s marriage to the NBA might help the conspiracy, too.
The rapper started as an unknown retail worker who rapped on the side. But after catching Jay-Z’s attention, J. Cole made waves in the hip hop community. Like Harris, he worked in the industry for a while before his name stuck. Now, J. Cole is one of hip-hop’s stars. The two are different, yet similar names, making the tongue-in-cheek conspiracy even better.
Are they the same person?
In 2014, Twitter user Myles Brown pointed out the resemblance between the rapper and the NBA star. While it was a joke, it was the type of joke that eventually made its way into the NBA lexicon. Like Kyle Korver before him, Tobias Harris became synonymous with his celebrity doppelganger despite everything he did on the court.
Rather than resist the jokes, Harris consistently poked fun at the fact that he shared such a resemblance, comparing himself to the rapper many times on social media. Eventually, their paths crossed, and a picture of the two confirmed that they were, in fact, different people from one another. While all of this is mostly fun and games, years later, the two might cross paths yet again.
Paths colliding soon?
In a Shakespearean twist, reports USA Today, the resemblance between the rapper and the basketball player could take another form. Cole has expressed his desire to play professional basketball, and while Harris may no longer play for Detroit, the team is reportedly interested in giving the rapper a shot. Basketball players and rappers have always shared a common bond, but it’s usually athletes trying to rap, not the opposite.
The Pistons’ official Twitter account extended an invite for Cole after former attempted rapper-turned-athlete Master P expressed Cole’s desire to lace up his shoes and play professional basketball. It was likely a publicity stunt on both sides, but it serves to show just how big Cole is at the moment and what teams will do to get headlines.
Cole and Harris are both thriving at their different careers, but if they meet on the basketball court, the internet may break with all of the ironic glory of seeing the pair suit up for the same game.