A group of investors that includes Jay-Z has completed the purchase of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets for $300 million. The buyers, lead by developer Bruce Ratner, hope to relocate the team to Brooklyn, New York, which has been without a professional sports team since Major League Baseball’s Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957.
“Basketball and entertainment go hand in hand in the hood,” Jay-Z told Rolling Stone. “I grew up playing basketball, and now some kid in Brooklyn can grow up thinking he’s a Net, if everything goes the way it’s supposed to.”
The rapper has been a regular courtside presence at both Nets and New York Knicks games, but he used to root for a Philadelphia 76er. “When I was young, my pops had an Afro and thought he was Dr. J,” Jay-Z said, “so I actually grew up a Dr. J fan.”
The Nets began as the New Jersey Americans of the American Basketball Association in 1967. The team played in various locales in both New Jersey and New York before settling in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1981. Despite two consecutive Eastern Conference championships, the Nets have been plagued by poor attendance figures, prompting the sale and relocation plan.