What does it mean that Jay-Z is selling his shares?
From reliable Yahoo bomb-dropper Adrian Wojnarowski drops a minor bomb: Nets minority owner Jay-Z is beginning the process of selling his shares with the team so that Roc Nation Sports, his newly announced agency launched in conjunction with Creative Artists Agency, can represent basketball players without any of those pesky ethical conflicts. Hov himself is trying to get certified as an agent, and is presumably trying to throw a brick into the still waters of major representation after yanking away top free agent Robinson Cano from the usually untouchable Scott Boras. (Or at least be more successful than Master P, who tried and failed to get into the game back in the ’90s.) According to Woj, they’d like to get the deal done before June’s draft so that they can pursue this year’s class of rookies, but there’s no specific rush. “CAA and Jay-Z are taking time to carefully formalize the arrangement on the basketball end,” he writes. “and are sensitive to making sure he exits the Nets partnership in a way that is respectful to the organization.
What does this mean for the team? Well, we’ll no longer see Jay-Z sitting ringside at Nets game as often as he does now, acting implacably nonchalant as the PA blares his hits. He’ll rap a little less about the team in his unwritten songs, too, though here’s hoping he sticks around enough to drop a “Bought into the Nets for a couple millions / My touch so magic, call me Deron Williams” couplet. (Or not, that’s alright too) The organization will no longer be able to claim the cool factor of having Jay-Z, rad rapper guy, as a part of its wheelings and dealings, available for appearances at any important event.
Which is the main thing: Apart from those appearances, how much involvement did he have with those wheelings and dealings? It’s cool to pal about with celebrities, but there’s a dearth of evidence showing that the appeal of talking to Hov every now and then was a deciding factor for any Brooklyn free agent. (One might imagine that playing in Brooklyn was a bigger draw.) It’s hard to imagine him intimately involved with the day-to-day operations of the team, outside of when he tried to draw LeBron James a few summers ago—and now that the Barclays Center grand opening has come and gone, there’s few Big Happenings to get hyped about other than the chasing of the championship, which the Nets are at least a season away from.
For him, it makes more sense to move to an area when he’s given more hand-picked impact over the sport while making a little more money. For the Nets, they’re only losing a public figure who helped ingratiate the team at its introduction but whose future impact was variable. As Woj notes, they’re trying to split in a way that’s publicly amicable and respectful—which is about all you can hope for. The money flows, and the world moves on.