Many of you in America, especially in the Tri-State area, have probably at least heard of this "King James" character being mentioned on the nightly news and punted back and forth in off-hand comments by pundits, personalities on TV and the web. Many of you may not give two Lindsay Lohans about sports. But it is hard to deny the cultural significance of a FREE AGENT in the National Basketball Association having a decision (which team to sign with) being so massive, so inflated, and so inconsequential to the rest of our lives, that it needs a televised time and place (prime time, no less) to announce. The interesting part is the involvement of one of the world's most famous musicians... a rap mogul, cigar smoker, industry legend... Jay Z.
LeBron James is a great basketball player, with a lot of potential, who needs to make an important decision of what team to play for in the 2011 NBA season. Great, now you are up to speed. Today's hype cycle (seen mostly in the music industry, and sometimes sports
) has aggrandized James to the point of future-God status, and it's got the country in a tizzy. For more from knowledgeable information, read Bill Simmons' thoughts
. The part of this that interests me? Sources have claimed, Jay Z, part owner of the New Jersey Nets, might have a say in the matter. WHUUUUUUUUT?
So yes, Jay has a 1.5% stake in the New Jersey Nets, and was present for negotiations with the King, but the recent comparisons of the two in the New York Post are just nauseating. NPR has a level perspective:
"A few months ago, Adrian Wojnarowski, a columnist for Yahoo! Sports, warned Cleveland fans about the relationship between James and Jay-Z, part-owner of the Nets:
[Cavaliers officials] have been uneasy witnesses to a dance between James and Jay-Z, a bond between a generation's most celebrated entertainer and athlete. These two spend a lot of time together traveling, talking and sharing big ideas. What's unnerving to Cleveland is that Jay-Z happens to be a part owner of the New Jersey Nets with unlimited access to James' heart, mind and ambitions."
Even Jay Z can't get a superstar to play for the New Jersey Nets... right? Hov? Musicians can have 99 problems, but an NBA free agent is usually not one. The question floats, for now... will involvement with Jay, and a whole bunch of criss crossing industries, affect James' decision? I'm sure the answer will even surprise James himself. The music industry has a few key players these days, and the ranks are waning. Such an influence on a sports franchise is pretty rare, and Jay is clearly using more star power and less actually ownership as a partial face of the team. I conclude that this is media fodder, and pure speculation.
My prediction? He is going to Miami. But the reasoining involves more sports and less H to the Izzo. You'll just have to wait and find out in a few hours if Jay-Z is not only the world's most powerful rapper, but also out to conquer the world of professional sports teams (or more importantly, one that can actually win games). -joe puglisi
[story via The Daily Swarm