After helping the Nets relocate from New Jersey to his hometown of Brooklyn, rapper and entrepreneur Shawn Carter — better known as Jay-Z — has officially confirmed reports that he is dropping his stake in the franchise so that he can pursue a future representing NBA players as an agent.
Carter issued a statement on his website, LifeAndTimes.com, on Thursday.
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.
It was first reported that Carter would pursue a career as an NBA agent earlier this month. Carter then released a rap song, "Open Letter," which appeared to confirm the reports a few days after they first surfaced.
"I would have brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free, except I made millions off of you [expletive] dweebs," Carter rapped. "I still own the building, I'm still keeping my seats. If you buy that [expletive], you better keep your receipts."
A Yahoo! Sports report indicated that Carter's Roc Nation Sports business will partner with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) on his new venture.
The face of the franchise as it relocated from New Jersey to his hometown of Brooklyn, Carter owned less than one percent of the Nets, but has spoken proudly of that stake. During a concert in October that helped open Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the Nets' new home, Carter slammed media reports that he thought had attempted to "diminish" his role with the franchise, which began in 2003.
"That's their way of diminishing our accomplishments. Don't let anyone diminish your accomplishments. ... [I'm] a young black African male who was raised in a single-parent home in low-income housing and I stand before you as an owner of the Brooklyn Nets. ... Don't let anyone diminish your accomplishments. You don't have to be inspired by me, be inspired by Barack Obama if you choose to. Latinos in here, be the first Latino president. Ladies in here, be the first female president."
Carter, 43, has previously rapped about owning the Nets.
"The Nets could go 0-for-82 and I'd look at you like this [expletive] is gravy," he joked on "N----- in Paris," a 2011 song with Kanye West.
Forbes reported earlier this month that Carter and CAA signed a deal to represent New York Yankees star second baseman Robinson Cano in upcoming negotiations on a contract that is expected to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Nets will face the Bulls in an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series which opens on Saturday. Brooklyn finished 49-33 to qualify for the playoffs as the East's No. 4 seed. Hat tip: TheBrooklynGame.com