Jay-Z becomes face of Brooklyn Nets
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Jay-Z loved basketball long before he became a hip-hop legend, music mogul, entrepreneur, global icon — and NBA part-owner.
In his book Decoded, Jay-Z wrote of his childhood in Brooklyn — when he was young Shawn Carter: “My father set up a little basketball hoop in our apartment — and we would all sweat it out right there in the living room like it was Madison Square Garden.” He also explains the lyric in the song Where I’m From — “I’m from where they ball and breed rhyme stars” — is about basketball and rappers.
Now, he’s shaping the Nets in the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Jay-Z has been influential in such decisions as the new black and white logo to the design of his 40/40 Club & Restaurant, a high-end sports bar and lounge. (The flagship is in Manhattan.)
“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.”
Jay-Z is on the Barclays Center board of directors — his title is director of the arena — and his imprint is all over the Nets and the arena.
He helped create 11 exclusive suites at Barclays Center, named The Vault, at $550,000 annually. His apparel store, Rocawear, will open at Barclays Center.
“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.”
When the Nets explored a new logo and color scheme, Jay-Z pushed for the straightforward black and white logos with “B” on the basketball.
Jay-Z also had to convince the NBA the colors were right. The NBA already has teams with black uniforms — the San Antonio Spurs, plus others with black alternate road jerseys — and has turned down other requests for black uniforms. The NBA likes that teams are identified by colors: the Boston … [For more on Jay-Z becomes face of Brooklyn Nets, click here.]