This rap star refused to sign for RC Lens and he regrets it a little today

He is one of the best-known rappers in France and his songs are iconic.

This rap star refused to sign for RC Lens and he regrets it a little today

He is one of the best-known rappers in France and his songs are iconic. However, he could have become a professional footballer, but he preferred to refuse.

A popular sport par excellence, football has many fans among its stars and celebrities. It is not uncommon to see singers, comedians or actors in the aisles of stadiums. If they are not highlighted as in the United States, where the front row of NBA matches is often filled by the biggest celebrities of the moment, the large championship or Champions League posters attract their share of VIPs in the lodges.

Among French artists, many also played football in youth teams and some could even have considered a sporting career before ending up on film sets or in concert halls. This is particularly the case of Bruno Lopes. Born into a family of amateur footballers - his father and older brother played at a good level in Seine-Saint-Denis -, he started playing football at a very young age in the club in his hometown, Pierrefitte. He was then noticed by Racing de Colombes to play in cadets, doing up to four training sessions per week.

In 1981, at the age of fifteen, he was spotted by RC Lens to join the training center. “My father, who was a manager of my club, received a call from a manager of RC Lens,” recalls the former hopeful. “I played in No. 10. With my size, which was rather small, you could say that I was mainly technical.” But another destiny awaited him since Bruno Lopes quickly took the nickname Kool Shen at the time and became passionate about hip-hop, graffiti, breakdancing and the whole rap culture which then landed in France in the 1980s-1990s. An obsession will then come to compete with football in the young man's mind: the creation of a rap group, and what a group since it is NTM.

Kool Shen has spoken several times about these two passions that tore him at the time. It is the geographical distance which will have got the better of the football. “For me, Lens was the end of the world. It was still ridiculous to say that to myself, especially since two years after the proposal from RC Lens, I was going to go off alone to New York to do breakdancing !” A lack of maturity that Kool Shen probably regrets a little in hindsight.

"It's still a bit of a shame. I think I really had good potential, but I'm from the Paris region and I couldn't see myself going there to board at around 14 or 15 years old. I said to my father that we would have other opportunities…”, he explained in an interview with Eurosport in 2014.

We will never know which player Bruno Lopes could have become, a number ten who apparently had some offensive potential. But this youthful refusal allowed him to form, in 1983, the French rap group "Suprême" with a certain Didier Morville, alias Joey Starr. Outside of rap and football, Kool Shen has also played poker at the professional level and has appeared in several films and series, including the latest season of Gears.