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Ratner, Jay-Z, But Not Prokhorov, Will Wield Shovels Thursday

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Barclays Center - Brooklyn Nets
Barclays Center - Brooklyn Nets

It may be Bruce Ratner's last official act as the Nets' principal owner and Jay-Z's first appearance at any Nets-branded  event this season.  Thursday's Barclays Center ground breaking in downtown Brooklyn will feature them as well as the team's CEO, Brett Yormark; Barclays CEO Bob Diamond; and three of the project's biggest political supporters: Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn Boro President Marty Markowitz.  Protestors from Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn are hoping to get some attention as well, claiming the state is "caging" them.  No word if any of the Nets will be on hand.  The team will between games in Dallas and Oklahoma City, although Yi Jianlian will be available.  Not on hand: Mikhail Prokhorov, who awaits approval by the NBA Board of Governors.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1:30 at the corner of Fifth and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn, acccessible via ten subway lines and Long Island Railroad at the Atlantic Terminal station, now promoted as part of the overall Atlantic Yards project. The ground breaking will be broadcast live on YES.