Jay-Z’s career as part-owner of an NBA franchise has officially begun.
The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the New Jersey Nets on Thursday to an ownership group that includes the star rapper.
In January, the group, led by developer Bruce Ratner, had its $300 million offer accepted by the New Jersey Nets, though the sale still needed approval from the league (see “Nets Accept Bid From Jay-Z Group; Brooklyn Move Closer” ).
Ratner recruited Jay-Z and a number of prominent Brooklynites with the idea of moving the franchise from the swamps of New Jersey to downtown Brooklyn. He plans to build a 19,000-seat arena in time for the 2006-2007 NBA season as part of a $2.5 billion development project, although the plan faces community opposition.
Jay-Z holds a minority interest in the team.
His participation in the ownership ranks, though, set the stage for another rapper to enter the sports field: Nelly. Last month, Nelly became an investor in the ownership group that runs the Charlotte Bobcats expansion NBA franchise, led by former BET owner Robert Johnson (see “Nelly Joins the NBA As Charlotte Bobcats Owner” ). The 2004-2005 season will be the Bobcats’ first.