In August, the New York Times’ David M. Halbinger examined the business relationship between Bruce Ratner and Jay-Z (“With Arena, Rapper Rewrites Celebrity Investors’ Playbook”), and while the latter received considerable credit for his role in greasing the skids for former’s Atlantic Yards project, that doesn’t mean the article’s subject was happy with the piece. CBS Sports.com’s Ben Golliver attended the 8th and final night of Jay-Z’s inaugural series of Barclays Center concerts and reports Hova took the opportunity to dispute published claims his ownership stake in the Nets is no higher than one-fifteenth of one percent.
Dressed in a customized black No. 4 Nets jersey and a gray Nets cap, Jay-Z took a break between songs to single out Rachel Robinson, the 90-year-old wife of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball, who was in attendance at the show. Jay-Z hailed Jackie Robinson as a pioneer and then segued into a riff on members of the media who he feels haven’t given him a fair shake.
Jay-Z first disputed the reported percentage — telling his audience that he didn’t know where the media got their numbers — before asserting that “some” in the media have presented his role in the ownership group in a way that was intended as a purposeful slight.
“That’s their way of diminishing our accomplishments,” he said. “Don’t let anyone diminish your accomplishments.”
The real story, he explained, goes like this: “[I’m] a young black African male who was raised in a single-parent home in low-income housing and I stand before you as an owner of the Brooklyn Nets.”
The Barclays Center crowd erupted in cheers.