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Jay-Z & Timbaland »

What do you get when you take the greatest living rapper and the greatest hip hip producer. You get one hot album. Sign the petition and lets make it happen.

by kenn on 11/06/2005 10:07:00 PM

The Jay-Z Effect on the Nets

Source: andpop


Ask a New Jersey Nets player how big an effect Jay-Z has on the team, and they'll be complimentary towards the rapper – and minority owner of the NBA team—and insist he has a far greater role with the club than one might expect.

Ask a former Net and you get a different story.

Jay-Z, whose real name is Sean Carter, is part of an ownership group, headed by real estate developer Bruce Ratner, that took over the Nets last August.

"He's always at the game and he's a staple in New Jersey," Nets forward Richard Jefferson says, before his team beat the Toronto Raptors 102-92 on Friday. "People come to games just to see if he's going to be there. He's very positive when it comes to the team and it has a good effect."

Jefferson says that unlike with other owners, the players can joke around with Jay-Z, and treat him like a comrade rather than a superior.

"He's real chill. He's been at team dinners and jokes with everybody. He asks a lot of questions about basketball. He's a fan that got to be a part of an ownership group so he's the best type of owner."

Vince Carter, acquired by the Nets last December in a trade with the Raptors, echoes Jefferson's thoughts.

"He's just a down to earth person," Carter says, sitting in the visitor's locker room at the Air Canada Centre as Jay-Z's music plays in the background. "We all know what he can do in the world of hip hop but he's a mogul.

"To own a team is one thing but he's everywhere with us."

Of course they're going to praise Jay-Z, though. No players, no matter how big of a star they are, will publicly criticize their owner, no matter how big their stake in the club is.

But Aaron Williams, who was traded to the Raptors last year after playing just over four seasons with the Nets, is free to say what he wants about his former owner, with fears of repercussion absent.

"He had zero impact on the team. He was never there," Williams says. "He has no say. He's just there for publicity."

But don't sense bitterness in Williams' comments. The 6'9''-forward did not expect, nor want, the minority owner to be involved with the team.

"I don't think he's qualified to be involved. He's a rapper and a businessman. I don’t think he knows anything about the business of basketball," says Williams.

That's not the case, says Nets coach Lawrence Frank.

The bench boss of the Nets since January of 2004, Frank says Jay-Z has helped out with the team whenever needed.

"He helped us this summer with recruiting, just spending time calling guys up, meeting with guys, and lending his time," he says.

"He's just been outgoing and a helpful owner. You know he's a busy guy but he still is able to carve out time to help with that."

Since he became a part owner, two other members of the urban music world have entered the NBA's owner's club—Usher with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Nelly with the Charlotte Bobcats.

Having an entertainer involved with the team could have some impact on a free agent's decision of who to sign with, Carter says. "[Jay-Z] opens so many doors after basketball."

Jay-Z is not only an NBA owner and rapper, but he is the president and CEO of Def Jam, founded Roc-A-Fella Records and the Rocawear clothing label, and owns the popular 40/40 club in New York.

Those are some "doors" that Williams won't be able to take advantage of.

"Did he ask you to be in any videos?" Raptor Matt Bonner chimes in.

Williams responds, "I had to turn him down a few times."

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