Jay-Z owns roughly 1/15th of 1 percent of the Brooklyn Nets, so he’s like the NBA’s equivalent of any of the 632 celebrities that Stephen Ross has sold Miami Dolphins ownership scraps to, but at least he’s thoroughly more relevant than Gloria Estefan. But for those who criticize Mr. Z – who has so many nicknames, yet I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say any of them – for just being there for zip, zazz and zorp, his role is apparently bigger than anyone, short of Deron Williams.
Jay has apparently been given the role of the face of the franchise, Mr. Flash and Flair, and I was under the assumption that was a given all along. But despite his inability to draw LeBron James as a free agent – because that was all his fault, according to the media – Jay brings an important knowledge of culture and, I hate myself for even writing this, swagger that has helped create such incredible buzz around something as simple as the Nets’ new uniforms*.
“He’s a tastemaker,” Barclays Center and Nets CEO Brett Yormark said of Jay-Z, who declined an interview for this story through his spokeswoman. “He brings a vision. He brings design acumen.”
“As we’ve come across the river to Brooklyn, his contributions have grown for obvious reasons,” Yormark said. “I just didn’t know that he is as talented as he is and had a good opinion on so many different things.” (Via USA Today)
Basically, if you’re a Nets fan, you have Jay-Z to thank for the cool and understated new team logo, because as someone who actually sat in on a focus group for an NBA team’s logo re-design, I can assure you that the rest of the Barclays board-of-directors and team officials had something much more horrific in mind. So yes, huge credit is due to the rapper in that regard.
On Friday, Jay-Z also opened the new Barclays Center with the first of his 8 sold-out shows – great videos over at Real Talk NY – and he played 24 of his hits while debuting the Nets’ road jersey. As I said last week, I’ve lost track of how many times something new has been debuted for Brooklyn, so I guess he really is doing a great job.
“Nothing feels like tonight,” he told the crowd multiple times.
“I want to thank you, Brooklyn, New York City, for making me the man I am today,” he said. “Like I said, everybody’s from Brooklyn tonight.” (Via the Montreal Gazette)
And if the Nets have a better record than the Knicks, everyone in New York will certainly be pretending like they’re from Brooklyn, too.
*I kept writing “new jerseys” and I just thought that was kind of mean.