When people are talking about the influence that Jay-Z has over the New Jersey Nets, the old joke is that he owns one more percent of the team than we do. That’s not much, so we laugh and admit that he’s probably not much more than a celebrity endorser, albeit one who paid a bunch of money for that position. Ha ha, good joke, everyone.
Except, apparently, that’s not true at all. Turns out he’s basically running things over there in Newark. No joke. Here’s GM Billy King, talking to the New York Daily News:
“I think a lot of those so-called guys that have parts of teams, they vanish,” King said. “There was one in Cleveland, what was his name? Usher. They haven’t seen him. I think Nelly in (Charlotte) – haven’t seen him. But Jay-Z, I think players see that it’s more of a passion for him, not just something he’s involved in.” [...]
King also said Shawn Carter is involved in basketball decisions.
“I send him emails, or relate, ‘What about this guy?’” King said. “But he is fully invested. Not just financially, but from the heart.”
See? He’s basically the de facto GM now. Billy King — just a figurehead, apparently — emails him about people, which means that Jay is pretty much in complete control of the franchise.
He traded for Deron Williams (the “The Blueprint” of his basketball moves). He gave Travis Outlaw that huge contract (his basketball “Dynasty Roc La Familia”). He’s the one who brought in Troy Murphy for no reason (the equivalent of signing Freeway then burying his releases). All that stuff was totally Jay-Z’s doing, all because he was sent emails.
Except, obviously, not really. Jay-Z is that guy in the first paragraph, the guy who uses his celebrity to make the Nets seem more appealing. I have no doubt he loves basketball and enjoys this team and is involved as much as any minority owner can be, but to say he’s “involved in basketball decisions” is laughable, like when Jay executive produced a record by the guy from Linkin Park.
(Also, how funny is it that Nelly was a part owner of the Bobcats? Totally forgot about that. Cool investment.)