Brooklyn Nets: 10 Highlights of New York Times Profile on Jay-Z

Via The New York Times

The New York Times published a fantastic profile on Brooklyn Nets minority owner Jay-Z today, detailing the hip-hop mogul’s involvement in the team in everything from breaking ground on the Barclays Center to advising security personnel how to frisk fans upon arrival.  His presence within the organization is well-known by the NBA public, of course, but just how instrumental he is to the team on a day-to-day and all-encompassing basis is fascinating, especially given his miniscule financial stake in the franchise.  Read the story to fully understand Jay-Z’s rare influence on the Nets, but below are 10 highlights of the article.

  • Jay-Z owns just 1/15 of one percent of the Nets, paying just one million dollars for a stake in the the team in 2003.  He owned 1/3 of one percent of the team until Mikhail Prokhorov came aboard.
  • It’s widely known that Jay-Z was instrumental in the design of Brooklyn’s logo and color scheme, but his influence here is bigger than that.  He personally appealed to the league’s objections of the Nets’ colors, a stance that centered on the NBA believing that “African-American athletes did not look good on TV in black.” A league source refutes that, of course.
  • “Less Jersey,” Jay-Z says of the team’s in-game music choices, suggesting niche artists like Santigold.
  • Jay-Z was nervous about meeting with David Stern to discuss his 1999 stabbing of a music producer, for which he received three years’ probation.  He described the incident as a corollary of “the world I lived in once.”
  • Downplaying Jay-Z’s influence in breaking ground on the Barclays Center, Ratner says “Had Jay-Z not come along we’d still have an arena.”  City Councilwoman Letitia James, originally in opposition of the project, seems to disagree.  “Bringing in someone who could identify with Brooklyn and African-Americans, that was slick.”
  • Jay-Z gave Vince Carter a “pep talk” in 2007 after two poor playoff performances, to which he responded by scoring 37 points the following games.
  • Advised Deron Williams on where to buy a home in the Brooklyn area.
  • Aaron Goodwin, former agent to stars like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Durant on Jay-Z’s influence in free agency: “[Players] are going to take the phone call now.  They’re going to take the flight in. In years past the Nets wouldn’t have gotten that.  But now they’re in the game.”
  • Jay-Z alerted a team executive of the Nets’ logo being too big on an ESPN graphic during the team’s whirlwind summer of free agency.  “Call ESPN and get them to fit it.” They did.
  • “Every detail matters,” Jay-Z says.