Anyone who is even sort of plugged into hoop Twitter or follows sports accounts on Instagram has likely learned of Hansel Enmanuel, an 18-year-old basketball player at Life Christian Academy in Kissimmee, Florida who has become a viral sensation for his play against other top high schoolers. While his flashy passes and dunks would be impressive enough on their own, they are made all the more so by his handicap; due to a childhood accident, the Dominican Republic-born Hansel only has one arm.
It’s a safe bet that’s where J. Cole, a hoops head and inspirational story in his own right, first learned of the young star, and perhaps sensing a kindred, underdog spirit, Cole scooped him up to appear in his latest ad for his Dreamer brand. Produced by Pomp&Clout and directed by Scott Lazer and J. Cole, “The Audacity II” simply features Enmanuel dribbling the ball in front of the camera, changing up the rhythm, tempo, and direction in a drill meant to display his focus and stamina as Cole narrates.
I got to keep it 100 with you. They don’t think you can do it. They look at you and all they see is a man standing in front of a mountain that’s too big to scare. But I believe in you. Sh*t you made me a believer cause I see how much you believe in yourself. Why else would you work this hard? Sh*t, I ain’t gonna lie, they surprised you made it this far. Now, quietly in the back of their minds, there’s a tiny thought that wonders how far you can actually go with this. And I know something they don’t know. That the answer to that question, my boy… is up to you.
Cole could very well have been speaking to himself. A long-shot to play pro ball at 36 years old, Cole was able to parlay his lifetime hoop dream into a role in the Basketball Africa League, where he played three games during the inaugural 2021 season.