Understanding why Jay-Z aborted his NBA venture
(Credit: Alamy)


Understanding why Jay-Z aborted his NBA venture

Jay-Z is one of hip-hop’s wealthiest men, and there’s almost nothing he can’t afford. Despite his humble beginnings selling records out of his car with Dame Dash, Hov has managed to accumulate an unfathomable amount of wealth, which he once used to fund an NBA team.

The Brooklyn rapper (real name Shawn Carter) achieved his status by being quite audacious with business and ensuring he put his money into enterprises that would guarantee a return. Nothing is off-limits for Jay, and he even dipped his toes into the world of professional sports.

Jay-Z was once a part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets. However, although it seemed like a smart move and an excellent way to boost his net worth, it wasn’t necessarily good business. Proving to be a myopic decision, Carter was forced to sell his shares in the team. As well as agreeing to become a co-owner of the Nets in 2003, 2019 saw Jay-Z pen a deal with the NFL (National Football League), allowing his label Roc Nation, to curate, develop and provide the entertainment and music for the league on all fronts, including the famed Super Bowl halftime show.

The deal aimed to increase the number of African-American people working in and around the organisation at an executive level. Additionally, the NFL pledged to continue their social justice activities, such as their ‘Change Initiative.’

The rapper owned a minuscule percentage of the Brooklyn Nets and a slightly larger percentage of the real estate in which they play (the Barclays Centre). Jay-Z owned 0.0007% of the Brooklyn Nets and 0.0025%. While a part owner of the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Centre (often referred to as The Nets Arena), Jay-Z had little to no impact on the players themselves.

Jay-Z wanted to get a foothold in the world of sports but wanted to have an impact on the players. Occasionally liaising with the NBA and team shareholders was an excellent way to begin entering the door. However, Carter wanted to create an impact as more of a sports agent.

In the end, Hov didn’t become an agent. However, his company Roc Nation began to represent athletes as well as just musicians (some of these athletes were basketball players). Ultimately, the NBA saw a conflict of interest, and their partnership came to a close. As an agency, Roc Nation would negotiate with owners in the players’ best interest while its founder was simultaneously an owner. It couldn’t work.

This led to Jay selling his shares in the Brooklyn Nets. As an agency, Roc Nation’s first client was baseball player Robinson Cano. They’ve since expanded across sports and also look after soccer stars, including Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne.