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, he would have to sell off the tiny part of his Nets ownership in order to avoid a conflict of interest. Despite Jay-Z’s role as the cultural face of the Nets, the New York Times reported in August that the rap mogul only owns one-fifteenth of one percent of the franchise. To make clear how small that is, here is what it looks like numerically: 0.067%. (Jay-Z has denounced that claim.)
But Jay-Z might have to give up his small ownership stake even to become a baseball agent for his agency’s first signing. As Fox News reported:
“Jay-Z has potential conflicts of interest. He is part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets, whose games are televised by the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES). He also is appearing in concert at Yankee Stadium in July. As noted by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, he could be paid by the Yankees through a third party, Live Nation, at a time when he is negotiating with the team on Cano’s behalf.”
The conflict of interests do not disqualify Jay-Z from getting certification from the MLB Players’ Union, but it will be considered in the application. Rick Shapiro, senior adviser to the union, said, “We’ll look at background, conflict of interests, the whole picture, we’ll look at everything.”
Part of that “everything” would include Jay-Z’s criminal record. Jay-Z, AKA Shawn Carter received three years’ probation in 2001 when he plead guilty to a misdemeanor third-degree assault charge for the 1999 stabbing of record producer Lance “Un” Rivera. The incident arose over Rivera’s alleged bootlegging of the HOVA’s fourth studio album, Vol.3…Life and Times of S. Carter. In Jay-Z’s brief court appearance he said, “I stabbed Lance Rivera.” If the case had gone to trial, the 17-time Grammy Award winner faced a potential 15-year prison term had he been tried and convicted of the original felony charges.
Though Carter would have to divest his Nets ownership to become a basketball agent, the NBA would not force him to give up his less than 1% ownership of Barcalys Center or seat on the board of directors for the building’s holding company.
With principal owner Mikhail Prokohorov’s deep pockets and Mr. Carter’s small financial investment in the team, the Nets would hardly miss Carter’s money; what they would miss is the Jay-Z status: the cultural impact Jerry Stackhouse once described as “iconic.” Nets and Barclays Center Chief Executive Officer Brett Yormark didn’t do any interviews regarding Carter’s entrepenurial adventure, but Yormark did have this to say in a February interview with the Wall Street Journal: “You have other people who like us because we’ve married the world of sports to entertainment because of Jay-Z.”
No timetable has been set for if and when Carter would sell his stake in the franchise, but if he does end up entering the agency world, his clients would hope he has more success than previous rappers who have tried their hand at it. After a failed attempt as an NBA player in pre-seasons with the Hornets and Raptors, Percy Miller AKA Master P represented Hesiman Trophy winner Ricky Williams for his rookie contract with the New Orleans Saints. The train-wreck of a deal has been used in law and business schools as a model for bad contracts.
For what it’s worth, Jay-Z was wearing a Nets hat at the signing of Robinson Cano on Tuesday.
Read More: Ken Rosenthal Fox Sports – – Jay-Z not formally certified as agent
Read More: Alex Raskin Wall Street Journal – – The Impact of Jay-Z’s Moves