Out Of NBA 5 Years, Veteran Guard Selected In G League Draft

He hasn't played an NBA game since the 2016-17 season, but now at the age of 34, former first-round pick and two-time Miami Heat world champion Norris Cole has taken the first step towards a return. He was selected with the 48th pick in the G League Draft by the Grand Rapids Gold. 

In the five years since his last appearance in the NBA, Cole has gone from world champion to world traveler, playing in leagues in China, Israel, Italy, Spain, Montenegro, and France.

Last month, while playing in the international AmeriCup tournament, Cole told the Associated Press about his desire to come back to the NBA. “I still have the ability,” Cole said. “God has still blessed me with the ability. I still have the fire, the hunger and I still feel like I have something to prove, things that I would like to accomplish as a player.

“That feeling of winning a championship, the mission, the goal, the work to try to get to that point again, that’s what drives me as a competitor,” Cole went on. “And I want that feeling again.”

Cole won back-to-back NBA titles in his first two years in the league, with the LeBron James-led Heat. He averaged 7 points and 2.7 assists in 360 games, in about 22 minutes per contest. 

In his international career over the last decade, he's averaged 13.7 points and 3.9 assists while shooting 37% from 3-point range.

“Just a chance, that’s all I ask,” Cole said. “I have a lot I can bring to a team. I want to continue to show that.”

He'll get that chance with the Denver Nuggets' G League affiliate. He's back on the NBA radar. We'll see where it goes from there.