Jay-Z Role as Creative Consultant Grows as Brooklyn Gets Closer

NEW YORK - MAY 18: (EXCLUSIVE) Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov with cultural icon and Nets investor JAY-Z celebrate Prokhorov's purchase of the team at lunch today at JAY-Z's 40/40 club on May 18, 2010 in New York City. Prokhorov is representing the Nets tonight at the NBA Draft Lottery in which the team could secure the first pick. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for New Jersey Nets)

A NetsDaily analysis of recent comments by team and arena officials shows that as Brooklyn gets closer, so does the relationship between the Nets and Jay-Z. There is now plenty of evidence to suggest Jay-Z's role encompasses input on the look of the Nets' Brooklyn uniforms, the choice of team colors, the design of arena club spaces and the branding of the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn...at the very least.

A lot of it, say team insiders, started with Mikhail Prokhorov taking control of the team. In May of 2010 when Prokhorov arrived in the US for the Draft Lottery and his inaugural round of press conferences and briefings, one his first stops was at the 40-40 Club, Jay-Z's place, for a meeting with the team's most famous minority owner.  We are told the meeting went long...more than an hour long...as the two owners and Dmitry Razumov talked and toasted a new era in Nets basketball and their relationship.

Since then, and with Brooklyn getting closer, the relationship has gotten closer, as shown in the comments below.

--Brett Yormark, told Robert Wuhl in July what Jay-Z's role is on the team's Brooklyn uniforms and colors.

"Jay's very involved, which is terrific," the Nets CEO. "Obviously, he's a trendsetter and such a talented individual. We and myself in particular collaborate with Jay very often. He's doing some things with the building as far as premium spaces,  working with our architect and our design firm. He's also working with us on our jerseys, the colors, just directionally how we want to present the brand when we get to Brooklyn. 

"So he's very involved, takes it very seriously and obviously coming from Brooklyn, he sees this as a huge moment and a bit of a part of his legacy. So, I'm really happy to have him on board and like I said, we work very closely together."

--Gregg Pasquarelli, design architect for the new arena told a group of Michigan architect students back in March how he's playing a role in the design of certain spaces.

"Jay-Z is one of the owners of the Nets. We've been working very closely with him on all the club spaces which is really fun."

--Translation, an advertising  and branding firm co-founded by Jay-Z, was hired in February by the Nets to help "position" the team for the long-delayed move to the Barclays Center.

"We have a brand, the arena, for housing great talent. And we have a brand, the Brooklyn Nets, and we need to make them a phenomenon in 2012," Translation president and Jay-Z partner Steve Stoute told Advertising Age. "Our job is to remove all doubt that what's coming to Brooklyn is going to make Brooklyn one of the finest entertainment capitals in the country."

Beyond that, there are hints around the Barclays Center showroom that the arena is about to announce a big new deal with Live Nation, who is Jay-Z's partner on concerts.

Billy King said back in April that Jay-Z is indeed involved, unlike other minority celebrity owners, Usher in Cleveland and Nelly in Charlotte.

"To see (Jay-Z) give a pitch on Brooklyn, and the passion about going to Brooklyn – you see it on tape, you see it on TV. To see him in a room with Carmelo, and making it, you see the passion there," King told Stefan Bondy. "And if he’s as passionate about Brooklyn, I just can’t imagine what the other people that live there are going to be like when we get there. And to see him as involved and as passionate about the Nets, to me, it’s a real positive. It’s not just something that he’s just using, or investing in. It’s something that he’s going to be involved in even more when we get – next season, I think, even further, we go to Brooklyn."

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