Every team has a mascot. In high school, our mascot was a wolverine, and every Friday one unlucky cheerleader would hop in a costume that resembled a giant furry wolf and sweat for four hours. I remember my friend Abby ended up wearing it a fair bit. Abby has more in common with Jay-Z than she ever thought she would. Jay-Z is also a mascot, in a way, but his team is basically one really scary Russian dude, and instead of wearing an uncomfortable furry outfit he has to go in front of the New York sports media, which is much, much worse.
In August, The New York Times reported that Jay-Z owned approximately one 50th of 1 percent of the newly-relocated Brooklyn Nets. That’s more of an NBA team than you or I own, but it just barely qualifies him as an “owner.” To put it into perspective, Jay invested a million dollars in the team in 2003, which is a little more than what the Nets will be paying CJ Watson—who is good at Twitter but not that great at basketball—to sit on their bench this season. Owning a sports franchise puts you firmly in the oligarch club, but Jay’s gotten a seat at the club with only a token investment.
Despite his ownership of the most hilariously small sliver of the Nets’ pizza pie, Jay-Z basically facilitated the Nets’ migration across from Jersey to Brooklyn. The idea to have a sports team in downtown Brooklyn was generated by this Romneyesque business nerd named Bruce Ratner, who (basically) wanted to clear a bunch of poor people out of the neighborhood and replace them with people with more money. It’s a good idea, from a purely capitalistic standpoint—the Atlantic station is a hub for the LIRR, meaning if Ratner threw in some office spaces he could lure businesses out of Midtown and into Brooklyn, because it would be a shorter, more convenient trip for all the Long Islanders who take the train in to work every day... [Continue reading article @VICEmag]