I don’t know how to even address this sort of thing, you guys. It’s not every day that the world’s most famous rapper buys a hilariously small piece of one of the most notorious laughingstocks in pro sports, moves that team to his hometown, decides to sell his ownership stake to become an agent and then includes some zingers about the team in a rap song about all the controversies of his past two weeks. As far as I can tell, this has happened exactly once in the history of rap and professional sports and that one time is right now.
Nonetheless, Jay-Z is doing/has done all that stuff in the first paragraph, culminating in the song “Open Letter” (listen below) where he has this to offer about the Nets:
I woulda moved the Nets to Brooklyn for free
Except I made millions off it, you f–king dweeb
I still own the building, I’m still keeping my seats
You buy that bullsh-t, you better keep your receipts.
Oh man, classic receipt slam. In your face, unorganized financial planners.
But I guess this means he’s still going to be a Nets fan even though he won’t have a financial interest in the team. That’s nice for them, especially since he’s still going to show up to like 10 games a season because he’s “keeping [his] seats.” Who knows if Jay-Z being a celebrity fan will have the same effect that Jay-Z being a minority owner of the team did, but at least there will still be a little peripheral Jay juice, if you will.
As for the “made millions off it, you f–king dweeb” part, I guess this could be read as a diss against someone in the Nets’ front office. (Is it you, random executives Fred Mangione or Leo Ehrline?) Personally, I think it’s more of a colloquial “f–king dweeb,” like Jay is bragging about making bank off something he wanted to happen anyways. Rappers have been known to be boastful in the past.
Even though Jay-Z is doing his best to assure anybody who doubts his Nets fandom because he’s selling his shares (I think? Weird stanza topic) that he’s still going to love his team, there are certainly going to be changes when he’s no longer an owner, especially for headline writers. Without a rapper as a part owner, where are they going to look for puns? Until Mikhail Prokhorov finally drops that mixtape he’s always talking about — it’s been delayed so many times that it’s basically Russia’s “Detox” at this point — it’s going to be Carl “Slim” Pickens in the newspaper game. That one’s free. They’re not all going to be this great.
Hahahahaha, yes. The comedy pairing of one of the NBA silliest players and one of the NBA’s most notorious laughingstocks finally paid off, and it was totally worth the wait. Two thumbs up, would watch again.
The Brooklyn Nets clinched a postseason appearance with a Sixers loss to the Nuggets last week, likely to end up somewhere between the four and six seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. This is a meaningful thing for the franchise for several reasons — it’s a success to brag about in their first season since moving to Brooklyn, it’s the franchise’s first postseason cameo of any duration since 2007, and it gets Mikhail Prokhorov one step closer to not having to get married in two years. But for us watching at home, generally uninterested in Brook Lopez set shots and Deron Williams mini-dramas, this is really only good for one reason: Another postseason with Reggie Evans.
Reggie is undoubtedly one of the NBA’s greatest supporting characters. He’s got a ridiculous beard, a weirdly shaped skulll, and a giggly smile that makes it look he’s never more than a minute removed from having farted in front of his coaches and having gotten away with it. And contrary to most players, scoring probably doesn’t make the list of his five favorite things to do on a basketball court — at absolute best, it’s a very distant fifth behind rebounding, setting screens, trash-talking opponents and flopping. He always seems to play his way into big minutes wherever he goes, but he never stays anywhere long. Since being traded to Denver halfway through his fourth season with the Sonics, he’s played for five different teams, and none of them for more than two seasons.
Yet for a guy who probably wouldn’t get his own chapter (and might not even show up in the index) when the history books are written about early 21st century basketball, Reggie Evans has managed to have a surprisingly large impact on a variety of playoff series over the years. This year will mark his sixth time playing in the playoffs, and for his fifth different franchise, and he always seems to leave his mark. He was an unexpected catalyst in the scare the Sixers put into the Pistons in the first round of the ’08 playoffs, posting double-doubles in the first two games and getting the “REG-GIE! REG-GIE!” chant from the Philly faithful, even giving the crowd the ol’ Allen Iverson hand-to-ear “Let me hear it!!” gesture. And he was a huge factor in the Clippers’ seven-game series win over the Grizzlies last year, averaging about nine boards a game off the bench and even finishing a close Game 7 on the floor as future-of-the-franchise forward Blake Griffin rode the pine.
But of course, the most memorable postseason moment from Reggie was not one that can be measured on the stat sheet. It came in Game 4 of the Denver Nuggets’ 2006 first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, where, when tussling with Clippers big man Chris Kaman for a rebound — and rebound-tussling is the area of the game where something like 85 percent of Reggie’s impact is felt — Evans found time to surreptitiously grab a handful of Kaman’s testicles, enraging the young center in to pushing Evans to the ground, and giving the “Inside the NBA” guys something to chortle about after the game. (Ernie: “He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and…” Charles: “Ernie, I don’t know where you get your cookies at…”)
One year ago today, Andray Blatche played his last game for the Washington Wizards, which means that a year minus a day ago Blatche had almost eaten himself out of the NBA. Now he’s a valuable member of a playoff team and 13th in the entire league in PER, ahead of All-Star big men Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tyson Chandler. It’s as weird to read that as to type it, I’m sure.
In obviously related news, Blatche is in a contract year. And when that next contract offer comes around in the summer, rather than enjoying the fruits of his best professional season and all the spoils that may entail, Blatche is going to use free agency to stick it to the team who deemed him too fat to play NBA basketball. From the New York Daily News:
Typically 7-footers in their prime are in high demand, and historically they get paid more than anybody expects. But here’s why Blatche cares less about money in his next contract: he’s still getting paid by the Wizards through the 2014-15 season because he was waived via the amnesty clause. So, according to the rules of the CBA, most of the money he earns through then on his next contract will go to Washington, the team he feels abandoned him last season.
Blatche even said that gives him incentive to take less money.
“If I get a lot (in my next contract), yeah, it’s going to take pressure off the Wizards,” he said. “But that’s why I’m not going to do that.”
And this, Wizards fans, is exactly why Andray Blatche told Washington he’d “be here forever lol.” Because even after two straight winning months, the end of the Knucklehead Era and with a top five defense in tow, they’re still going to be paying Andray Blatche millions of dollars to play good basketball for another team. To put it in his words, he truly could have the last lol.