Seven years have passed since Norris Cole last suited up for the Miami Heat, but the veteran guard continues to hold down a spot in the hearts of the South Beach fandom. After all, he was a key contributor for the club from his earliest days as a pro baller.
It took all of two games for Cole to log his first 20-point effort (on national TV, no less) as a rookie, and he went on to become Miami’s backup point guard for three NBA Finals runs.
Since then, Cole has been living the life of a hoops vagabond, plying his trade everywhere from the States to China to Europe. Most recently, he could be seen playing for Unicaja of the Spanish ACB League and the Basketball Champions League.
On Monday, though, the 33-year-old officially moved on to a new hardwood destination.
Cole Is Returning to France
Per an announcement from the team, Cole has reached an agreement to join JL Bourg of the of the LNB Pro A in France.
Cole will fill the spot vacated by big man Eric Mika, who underwent wrist surgery earlier this year. Although he’ll be joining the Bourg-en-Bresse-based club for league play, the journeyman will be ineligible to participate in EuroCup action. His signing occurred after the international competition’s deadline for new additions had already passed.
Of course, Cole is no stranger to French basketball, having played for Monaco and ASVEL previously. He won a Pro A championship with the latter team last season.
The former Heat favorite’s move to JL Bourg came suddenly; he was only just released by Unicaja. However, he hadn’t appeared in a game for the club since late January when it was decided that he would remain on the sidelines.
To that point, he had started 22 games for Unicaja across all competitions, averaging 11.6 points and 4.2 assists per contest while shooting 45.7% from the field and 35.4% from three-point range.
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Cole Won More Than Rings in Miami
Obviously, Cole came to the Heat during a particularly opportune moment in time, i.e. the Big 3 era with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. And while the team’s two championship wins probably represent the high-water mark for his hoops career, the floor general actually had another big win during his Miami tenure.
Specifically, he took possession of Wade’s Porsche on a bet by hitting a halfcourt shot during practice.
Via the Bleave in Miami Heat podcast:
We were just shooting around after practice, and then they were getting ice, and I’m a young guy, I’m not getting any ice at the time. So, I’m just shooting around, and then he passed me the ball, and I turned and looked at the rim, and I said, ‘Oo, from right here, halfcourt.’ And he was like, ‘Bet.’ And I was like, ‘What we betting?’ Cause he know I don’t gamble. I don’t gamble money or anything like that. So, he was like, ‘If you make it, you get the Porsche.’ I said, ‘Bet.’ Shot it and made it, and he was like, ‘It’ll be ready for you when we land.’
Wade later confirmed the story via Twitter: