Though Jay-Z owns just one 50th of 1 percent of the Brooklyn Nets, the team has decided to make him the face of the franchise in a clever public relations ploy, according to a piece on Vice.com by writer Drew Millard.
Millard likens Jay-Z to a team mascot of sorts, employed to give the franchise a cool, hip veneer. The real owner behind the team is a “scary” Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, one of the richest men in Russia, who bought a controlling share of the team from businessman Bruce Ratner. According to Millard, what Ratner really wanted was to build a business center in downtown Brooklyn that would be a much easier commute for all the businessmen coming in from Long Island—the Nets were just an added bonus thrown in to convince city officials to let him build. And to let him relocate all the poor people who were moved to make way for Barclays Center. Most of the office building plans have fallen by the wayside, which leaves just the basketball team and its arena. And a partial owner who happens to be one of the coolest men on the planet.
With just a one million investment—what amounts to a portion of the salary of a Nets benchwarmer—Jay-Z became the face of the franchise. Millard calls into question Jay’s business acumen, saying that Damon Dash was likely the real brains behind Roc-A-Fella and Jay-Z didn’t do a very good job running Def Jam. But in the very next sentence, Millard points out the following:
“On top of continuing to be able to rap about being a business, man, Jay will be performing eight sold-out concerts to kick off the Center’s existence, his top-shelf champagne will be served in the Illuminati-level VIP section, and as for the little people, he’s throwing one of his 40/40 Clubs in the stadium proper. Also, did you know that Jay-Z co-owns an advertising agency? He does, and it’s called Translation, and they’re doing the Nets’ advertising.”
If he’s indeed a questionable businessman, sounds like he negotiated a hell of a deal for himself at Barclays. Just the champagne contract will probably bring in far more than the $1 million he invested. Even if the Nets don’t win the NBA championship in the next decade, sounds like Jay’s gonna do alright for himself.