NEW YORK — Last week it was revealed that P. Diddy was looking into buying his own basketball team, but now Jay-Z has one-upped his fellow hip-hop mogul — he’s actually making the move to do so.
Jay-Z has joined an investment group that has put in a bid for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. The investors, led by Brooklyn developer Bruce Ratner, intend to move the team from Newark, New Jersey, to the borough of Brooklyn, Jay-Z’s hometown.
Ratner’s group is considered to be the front-runner to buy the Nets from George Steinbrenner’s YankeeNets company, with a bid estimated at $250 million. An announcement is expected by the All-Star break in February.
Dressed in a black suit with a white button-up shirt and no tie, Jay made his announcement at a press conference to unveil Ratner’s plans for a downtown Brooklyn arena designed by famed architect Frank Gehry. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn-born basketball star Bernard King were also in attendance.
“I’m a Brooklyn kid who’s in love with Brooklyn,” Jay said. “[I’m] just happy to bring something back. That’s my love.”
It had been reported that Jay-Z retained an investment bank to explore the possibility of putting in a bid for the Nets (see “Jay-Z Looking To Purchase A Basketball Team” ). But in recent weeks Jay has had a series of meetings with Ratner and his fellow investors, with both sides strategizing on how Jay’s involvement could enhance their bid. Jay would not reveal how big of an investment he’s making in Ratner’s group. “I’m not going to tell you that,” he laughed when asked.