Via Life & Times, Jay-Z's official website:
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There's some debate about the precise words in the new Jay-Z song, especially in terms of who, exactly, he was calling an effing dweeb. Devin heard it as:
"Would've brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free. Except, I made millions off of you f***ing dweeb. I still own the building, I'm still keeping my seats, you buy that bulls***, you better keep your receipts.
Some heard it as made millions off "it" instead of "of." Either way, at the risk of over-interpreting a bunch of rap lyrics, it sounds like Jay-Z thinks:
a) He single-handedly brought the Nets to Brooklyn. I guess Bruce Ratner, Mikhail Prokhorov, Marty Markowitz and the many other people who have been agitating for a Brooklyn team for years, were irrelevant. The Nets came to Brooklyn because Jay-Z decided it should be so. And, "I still own the building." He was no doubt very important in creating the brand but even accounting for normal celebrity trash talk, this sounds a bit too much like The Donald.
b) Nets are suckers. Whether he's mocking a particular Nets executive or the entire deal, he's saying the Nets could have gotten his help for free but they paid him! Ha ha ha ha. (By the way, the Nets did just fine in this relationship: whatever they paid, they probably got their money's worth in terms of brand-buffing and publicity.)
It's quite possible that Jay-Z was mostly intending to push back at those who made fun of him for having a small stake in the team. That seems to have really gotten under his skin, which is a weird thing to care about. So he's saying, "you think I had a small stake! Well then how come I made millions! Still think I was used??"
But whatever his motivation, the combination of him selling his shares to go off and make some more money as an agent and this Nets-whack makes it slightly harder to think of him as the Nets Number One Fan in quite the same way. He was supposed to be our Spike Lee. This week, at least, he's sounding more like our Donald Trump.
Amidst the information leaking that Jay-Z, AKA Shawn Carter, is divesting his shares in the Brooklyn Nets to begin the sports agency "Roc Nation Sports," Jay-Z recorded a pissed-off song titled "Open Letter" addressing the sale and the reaction to it, including attacking an unnamed person -- presumably a member of the Nets organization. Audio and lyrics after the jump.... MORE →
The process is expected to be completed in time for Roc Nation to compete for players entering the June NBA draft, but there's no guarantee of the timing, sources said. Those within Roc Nation and the CAA alliance aren't "chasing a clock on this," one source said. "This isn't about one draft, but taking the long view of the business."
Rival agents are anxious over the possibilities of Jay-Z on the recruiting trail, believing the lure of his iconic business and cultural standing will have a major impact on attracting top prospects and current league stars.
CAA and Jay-Z are taking time to carefully formalize the arrangement on the basketball end, sources told Y! Sports, and are sensitive to making sure he exits the Nets partnership in a way that is respectful to the organization.
Among NBA, NBPA and Nets constituencies, there are several hurdles to overcome before a formal announcement will be made. Nevertheless, none are significant and Jay-Z's certification as a player agent is a mere formality.
Jay-Z opened Brooklyn's Barclays Center on September 28th with the first of eight concerts in nine nights.
Earlier this week, Jay-Z's entertainment company, Roc Nation, announced the launch of a sports agency, Roc Nation Sports, and made an immediate splash by signing Yankees star infielder Robinson Cano. For an encore (do you want more?), the fledging agency signed Giants free-agent wide receiver Victor Cruz on Wednesday.
If that wasn't enough, Jay-Z has reportedly expressed interest in becoming an agent himself; first in baseball, then in football and basketball. In order to become an NBA agent... MORE →
Ever the master of image cultivation, Jay-z has gotten CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a leading entertainment and sports agency, to co-represent Cano with Roc Nation Sports. Here's Jay-Z's thoughts on his latest entrepreneurial adventure:
“Because of my love of sports, it was a natural progression to form a company where we can help top athletes in various sports the same way we have been helping artists in the music industry for years.”
In order to sign with Roc Nation Sports, the 30 year old four time All-Star left MLB super agent Scott Boras. Cano, who is named after baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, wears number 24 in honor of the Brooklyn Dodger great's number 42, which had been retired by the time Cano entered the league. In yet another sign that Jay-Z has his tenticles all over pop culture, the rapper-turned-Nets-minority owner's "Brooklyn We Go Hard" has been used heavily in TV spots for the upcoming biopic on Jackie Robinson's life, 42: The True Story of an American Legend.
“At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field,” said Cano. “I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals. I am making this important decision now so I can keep my focus on helping the Yankees succeed in 2013, while minimizing any distractions for me and my teammates.”
For baseball purposes, Cano will be represented by a team of agents led by CAA Sports’ Brodie Van Wagenen. But don't rule out Jay-Z in the future. According to Buster Olney and Darren Rovell of ESPN:
"Sources say Jay-Z himself is planning to be a certified agent, first in baseball and eventually in basketball and football. In order to represent clients in basketball, he would have to give up his small share of the Brooklyn Nets."
If Jay-Z does give up his tiny share of the Nets, would he be able to sway clients to come to Brooklyn as an agent? Then again, Jay-Z probably wouldn't let his considerable Brooklyn pride and former ties to the Nets get in the way of getting the best deal for his client, wherever that may come from. After all, Jay-Z isn't a businessman. He's a business, man. So let him handle his business, damn.
Read More: RocNation - - Roc Nation Launches Roc Nation Sports + Signs New York Yankees All-Star Robinson Cano
Read More: ESPN Buster Olney and Darren Rovell - - Robinson Cano hires Jay-Z
Jay-Z: "Me? Ha, I am Brooklyn."
To be fair: he's probably right. Jay-Z is one of the coolest things about this franchise. Bruce Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov can't sell a franchise to a borough while using eminent domain, but Jay-Z sure can!
Though if he wanted to seem humble, there are lots of other cool things about the Brooklyn Nets. Here are some of my suggestions:... MORE →
The fifth episode of The Road to Brooklyn, Jay Z's Life + Times, features Brooklyn residents talking about the meaning of the Brooklyn Nets to the borough -- and how that might change depending on the team. Jay-Z does not make an appearance, but some other familiar Brooklyn faces do, including Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz.
Nets Fan and The Brooklyn Game user Vincent Romero went to the first game last night. Here's his experience.
I was at the game last night.
First and foremost, I have been to many games at the Izod Center including the finals games during the Jason Kidd era against the Lakers and Spurs. The buzz in the Barclays Center was so much better than any of the those games and it was against the Toronto Raptors! Which makes me wonder how better the buzz was if they did start the season against the Knicks.
Got into the Barclays Center as it opened the doors through the main entrance in the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush. Though clearly observing as I walked around those who want to avoid lines at the entrance should use the Dean Street and Atlantic entrances on the sides, people got in easily without much hassle.
Food options are so much better than MSG and with local vendors, the Barclays Center people seem very observant that Brooklyn is a big foodie neighborhood especially the Park Slope/Fort Greene/Prospect Heights neighborhood surrounding the arena though the lines are bad and hard to navigate through the arena during the game because of the concessions lines. That Famiglia Pizza/Ranch 1 crap is not going to work here in Brooklyn!
All the seats are padded and it's easy to get too though the Barclays Center in the corridors do not highlight any Nets franchise history like Dr. J, Michael Ray Richardson's interventions, Kenny Anderson and Derrick Coleman's rookie contracts, Keith Van Horn's rap albums, etc. Not even an Aaron Williams Fro-Yo stand! They still have the franchise's ABA titles and the conference and division titles banners with the retired jerseys though the lack of the retired #30 Kerry Kittles jersey disturbed me. The Arena looks bigger from the inside than it does on the outside.
As time ticked toward game time, the girl singing the National Anthem was terrible. The Brooklyn Team Song is great. The Video Team Introduction Package of the Nets players entering the Barclays Center in black and white was swagtastic! The Brooklyn Knight Mascot is the worst mascot in the NBA since Bulls Dynasty 12th Man Jack Haley. They had David Stern speak to the crowd and as expected, BOOOOOOOO! They had a poignant yet awkward ceremony with remaining members from the 1957 Brooklyn Dodgers team where they traded jerseys, soccer style. Deron Williams spoke to the crowd and is a much better public speaker than 76ers Spencer Hawes and Carmelo Anthony. The Brooklyn Borough President rambled gibberish and finally tip-off. Deron Williams nails a long 2 which the crowd goes nuts from the wing!
The fans were very into the game at least in terms of my section, 213 on the upper corner. Very observant and smart which is something sadly I can't say about any of my experiences at MSG where many of the fans understood Wok & Roll more than the Pick n' Roll. Though we all agree "Isiah sucks!". Everyone was mindful, the Nets are going to be a bad to mediocre defensive team.
Brook Lopez live looks so awkward in terms of his moves on the post but they are so effective though you need to time him with a sundial in terms of him catching up on a Raptors pick and roll. Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans and CJ Watson are going to be fan favorites. Gerald Wallace was everywhere though the long jumpers were painful and Reggie Evans got 13 boards off the bench, he was gobbling them like Pac-Man getting the power pellets.
The crowd really started to get into it when the Nets bench came with Joe Johnson on the floor to start the 2nd half and when I thought Brook Lopez was awkward, 'Dray Blatche makes him look like Gregory Hines. That 2nd unit of Watson, Brooks, Evans and Blatche with either Williams or Johnson with them look and play like a Brooklyn Streetball unit.
Then the "Broooooooooooklyn" chants came out and it was great and even better knowing I can annoy my friends with it. CJ Watson pops a 3 at the buzzer and the crowd goes nuts.
Early 3rd Quarter, you couldn't help but be excited by the potential when the Brooklyn starting 5 took control of the game. Deron was making clean passes to cutters, Brook Lopez and his chinese menu of post moves to get to the whole, Wallace's hustle, Iso Joe's Isolation sets, and even Kris Humphries somewhat effective defense but then they hit a funk in the 4th Quarter were they kept turning the ball over and reverting to the early game's defense allowing Raptors to cut them up with pick and rolls.
The crowd if as energetic as the first game is going to be huge advantage for the Brooklyn Nets at home. Even though they blew a 13-point lead, the crowd really didn't boo and as crunch time hit, they got excited and pumped up the value. This could be the first time, the Nets really had a crowd that into a game.
The Nets didn't really take control of the game until the near end some MarShon Brooks was nailing these Jamal Crawfordian bad jumpers and Joe Johnson/Deron Williams cool the game with the Free Throws.
I would have thought there would have been pyro or a bigger celebration once the clock hit 0.00 with the Nets winning 107-100 but there wasn't which shocked me. Getting out of the arena was pretty easy with a lot of ways to get out.
As I walked to the subway to my home, you couldn't help but hear the annoying loudspeaker from the Modells across the street trying to get fans to buy merch after the game. The Modells was packed which reminded me of after Yankees games where fans and tourists would hit the merchandise stores outside the stadium after the game.
Overall, Barclays Center was a great experience. I think Brooklyn Nets Management really did a great job understanding Brooklyn and reflecting it in the fan experience including the concessions, dancers, kids group, and the entrance video vignetter/theme music though they need tweaks including please ditch the Brooklyn Knight which looked designed by a blind Marvel intern.
One last observation: Jay-Z and Beyonce Jumbotron shots were about 5-6 and Beyonce looked like she wanted to go to sleep.