Update 4/18/2013: In a statement posted to his Life + Times site, Jay-Z confirms he’ll sell his Brooklyn Nets stake in order to represent NBA players as part of a new business venture, Roc Nation Sports. He wrote:
Being a member of the Nets organization surpassed some of my greatest ambitions. It was never about an investment; it was about the NETS and Brooklyn. My job as an owner is over but as a fan it has just begun. I’m a Brooklyn Net forever. It’s been an honor to work with Mikhail Prokhorov, Dmitry Razumov, Christophe Charlier, ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, Brett Yormark and all the wonderful people involved in making the Nets first class. My sincerest thanks goes to Bruce Ratner, who first introduced the idea of moving the Nets to Brooklyn. A thank you and deepest appreciation goes to the fans. You are the lifeblood of any team.
The Nets have made their mark on the NBA and as they enter a new era, Roc Nation does as well; as we embark on Roc Nation Sports. Our newest endeavor is committed to building the brands of professional athletes as we have done for some of today’s top music artists. For Roc Nation Sports to function at its full potential, NBA rules stipulate that I relinquish my ownership in the Brooklyn Nets. It was a tough decision but as I stated earlier, it’s not about ownership. Congratulations to The Nets on a great season and making the playoffs! I will always be a Brooklyn Net.
No word yet whether or not Jay thinks Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who this week said he’d like to buy the shares, is corny.
Update 4/17/2013: Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian wants to buy Jay-Z’s minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets. Last week, Ohanian mentioned his interest on Twitter and this morning he told Bloomberg News, “I have tried to make as many public and private overtures as I can to let Hova know that I would absolutely be honored to buy those shares.” Talking in a Reddit thread today, he continued, “I realize it’s a token amount. But I actually live in Brooklyn and I’m pretty good with the internet — I reckon that could be helpful. Also – AMAs from ALL THE PLAYERS. Maybe not Kris….The team doesn’t look like some kid’s NBA Live Dream Team (Heat), but on a good night they can show up. I absolutely jumped on the Nets bandwagon when they moved to my town, but I’m here to stay.” Born in Brooklyn’s Ft. Greene neighborhood, Ohanion sold Reddit to Conde Naste in 2006 and remains on its board. Whether or not his intentions pan out is, ultimately, Jay-Z’s call.
Previously: After Jay-Z announced the launch of Roc Nation Sports, a new arm of his Roc Nation entertainment company, last week, Yahoo! reports that he’s begun the process of selling his minuscule stake in the Brooklyn Nets. Per NBA rules, no one representing an NBA player can have an ownership share in an NBA team. It’s expected, but not certain, that Jay will cut ties with the Nets before June’s NBA draft. “This isn’t about one draft, but taking the long view of the business,” an unnamed source told Yahoo!.
Jay-Z has worked to bring The Nets to Brooklyn since 2003, though his ownership stake in the team is very small—one-fifteenth of one percent, according to the New York Times. He’s been a significant symbolic partner in the venture, giving a speech at the Barclays Center’s groundbreaking, helping to design the new Nets logo and getting Santigold songs played during games. Barclays has a Rocawear store and 40/40 club. “[Jay-Z] is it,” Bruce Ratner, Barclays’ lead developer, told the New York Times last year. “He is how people are going to see that place.”
Jay wants to bring that same cache to sports. Rival agents are reportedly “anxious” about his outsized reputation and its allure to top athletes. Meanwhile, the Nets aren’t speaking ill of their precious ally. Speaking with the New York Times, they said, “we fully support all of Jay-Z’s endeavors.”