The New Jersey Nets’ owners accepted developer Bruce Ratner’s $300 million bid for the basketball franchise late Wednesday night, according to team officials. It clears the way for his group, which includes hip-hop impresario Jay-Z, to attempt to move the Nets to Brooklyn.
Jay-Z officially joined Ratner’s group in early December, though his exact financial stake has not been made public (see “Jay-Z Aims For Nothing But Nets With Potential Basketball Deal” ). Jigga’s presence lent credibility and conviction to Ratner’s mission to relocate the Nets from New Jersey’s swamplands to the New York City borough that no major-league sports franchise has called home since baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1957. The sale will also mark the first time anyone in hip-hop has held an ownership stake in a professional sports franchise, a watershed moment for hip-hop culture.
The only other serious bid for the Nets franchise under consideration was that of a group led by real estate developer Charles Kushner and New Jersey Sen. Jon Corzine.
The sale still needs to be ratified by the team’s holding company, YankeeNets, which could happen as early as Friday morning, and by the NBA, which could approve the sale within a month.
Bringing the team to Brooklyn, however, is anything but a slam-dunk for Ratner. Though his group has a detailed plan for commercial and residential development around a proposed arena, it faces community opposition from neighborhood people and businesses facing displacement.