SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] was in Jay-Z mode. He couldn't be fazed, no matter how nonsensical the questions he and Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James were being asked as they stood on the green carpet outside their annual "Two Kings" dinner and afterparty on Saturday in Arizona.
"Are you guys each others' special valentines today?" they were asked by a female reporter.
Right in step, Jay fired back quickly and humorously: "You wanna be my valentine? Easy! Easy now! Back up off me, baby!"
James threw in a line from [article id="1605130"]"Jockin' Jay-Z"[/article]: "Myyyyy girls is here!"
Hov laughed and replied with the line that precedes that one in the song: "Chill, baby girl!"
"Do you have anything special planned with your lady?" the reporter asked moments later.
Jay answered with a grin: "Yeah, we're going to tell you everything ... inside."
(Jay also answered a much more serious question on the carpet, regarding [article id="1605144"]Rihanna and Chris Brown[/article].)
Earlier in the day, both superstars, with special guest Beyoncé, donated $50,000 worth of instruments and a $10,000 check to the Mesa [Arizona] Arts Academy, in partnership with Sprite Green, which also sponsored the party.
Nighttime though, was all about the adults. Kobe Bryant, Michael Strahan, Chris Tucker, Spike Lee, Shaquille O'Neal and many others came out to mingle with the two kings.
"Well, the origin was just us wanting to have a dialogue," Jay explained of the gathering. "We wanted to have a dialogue with the people we interact with: the corporations, whether it be Sprite, whether it be American Express, whether it be Proctor & Gamble. Whoever. We wanted to have a dialogue and let people understand who we were as individuals. A lot of times people look at you as a ball player or a rapper; they don't really know who you are as a human being. We didn't want to just take any money to endorse products; we wanted to have a partnership and a relationship that extended beyond that so we could do other things like today. We did a musical program in Mesa."
"It was unbelievable," James offered.
"Those types of things originated at this dinner," Jay concluded.
Hov was a mentor and friend to James even before the 24-year-old was drafted into the NBA. Over the years, LeBron said he's learned a lot from Jay, especially in business.
"Everything," James revealed when asked what he's learned from Jay. "[I've learned from] how he's stayed focused. ... Like he says, sometimes they look at us and classify us as what you do as just a rapper as a basketball player. But he's done other things and thought outside the box and been successful with it. I've definitely been able to pick up from that and look up to him."
Being so close to Jay, you would think that James has already had a sneak listen of Hov's top-secret next LP, [article id="1603222"]The Blueprint 3.[/article]
"Uh, have I?" LeBron answered evasively.
"I like that. That's my boy," Jiggaman laughed, proud of James showing just how much he's learned (like when not to say anything). "Yeah, [he heard] some early stuff. Early."
Jay, who said he plans on going on tour in June or July, also said his "brother" gives him constructive criticism, as do a lot of people in his circle.