Jay-Z and Beyonce sit in Kevin Durant’s courtside seats

Jay-Z Beyonce basketballKevin Durant’s got friends and business partners in high places.

There was a buzz going around on Thursday that Jay-Z and Beyonce would be in attendance for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s nationally-televised game against the Los Angeles Clippers. That turned out to be accurate.

Royce Young of DailyThunder.com added another detail to the story — the power couple were sitting in KD’s courtside seats — and he supplied the photo:

Durant in June joined Jay-Z’s Roc Nation sports agency and became the rapper’s most high-profile client. There haven’t been many business moves since Jay-Z’s repped Durant that we know of, aside from KD’s Gatorade deal expiring. But we do know that the Thunder star has a lot of pull since he has HOV and Beyonce coming to his games.

Jay-Z reportedly trying to market Robinson Cano as Michael Jordan

Robinson-Cano-YankeesRobinson Cano is easily the biggest client the newly-formed Roc Nation Sports has on its roster. If Jay-Z’s agency wants to be taken seriously going forward, Cano has to ink a massive contract that everyone can agree is equal to or surpasses what Scott Boras could have gotten the perennial All-Star. But are they aiming too high?

According to a report from the NY Daily News earlier this week, Cano’s agents are trying to sell him to teams as more than just a baseball player.

“They’re selling him as Michael Jordan, not as a baseball player,” an MLB source familiar with Cano’s situation reportedly said. “As a guy that’s going to be a big rock star and bring all these fans in. Last year, that wasn’t the case.”

Part of an agency’s job is to sell their client as more than just an athlete, but the sales pitch for a baseball player will never be the same as that of an NBA star like LeBron James or Michael Jordan. One basketball player can carry a team to a championship in addition to boosting ticket sales, merchandise sales and television ratings. That typically does not happen with baseball.

Jay-Z and company are still seeking a 10-year deal worth over $300 million, which means they are committed to making Cano the highest-paid player in the history of the game. With the Yankees reportedly starting at seven years and $160 million and no other teams making a serious run at Cano just yet, that is not going to happen. A $200 million contract is a possibility, but $300 million would be astronomical.

As for the Jordan thing, there aren’t many teams who will buy it. People tuned in to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers when LeBron was there just so they could watch LeBron. It didn’t matter how good or bad the Cavs were. No one is going to watch Yankees games just to see Cano. Baseball is simply a different product.

H/T Hardball Talk

Jay-Z believes drug dealing experience will help with being a sports agent

Jay-ZJay-Z has probably lived a more interesting life than most famous sports agents. The sports business world is essentially a side venture for Shawn Carter, whose 15 albums have all gone platinum. In an interview with Vanity Fair for the magazine’s November issue, Jay-Z spoke about a past profession that he believes will help him be a better sports agent which most others probably cannot relate to — drug dealing.

How will an understanding of dealing drugs help Jay-Z to score big contracts for his clients?

“I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer,” he told Vanity Fair’s Lisa Robinson. “To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up. Or if you want to start some sort of barbershop or car wash—those were the businesses back then. Things you can get in easily to get out of [that] life.

“At some point, you have to have an exit strategy, because your window is very small; you’re going to get locked up or you’re going to die.”

I can’t say I really follow all of that, though that probably makes sense since I have no experience with pushing drugs. I get the whole budget thing, but he lost me when the exit strategy and going to prison talk kicked in.

As we have already seen, Jay-Z is going to have no problem scoring new clients. In addition to being an incredibly successful businessman, he’s also a hip-hop icon who many current professional athletes grew up listening to. Whether they’re willing to admit it or not, that helps. Apparently having dealt drugs does, too.

H/T Deadspin

Jay-Z reportedly selling his stake in Brooklyn Nets to Jason Kidd

Jay-Z-Jason-KiddJason Kidd is the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and spent more than six seasons with the team as a player. Now, he is reportedly taking his investment in the team to the next level.

According to the NY Post’s Page Six, Jay-Z is selling his minority ownership stake in the Nets to Kidd for roughly $500,000. Jay-Z, who has broken into the world of sports agency, owned 1/15th of a percent of the team. The move was reportedly pushed for by the team’s other owners.

“Other owners want to give Jason a part ownership of the team, and urged Jay to sell his shares to him,” a source reportedly told Page Six.

Interestingly enough, the Post also noted that it was Kidd who helped convince Jay-Z to become involved with the Nets in 2003 when Kidd was a star point guard for the then-New Jersey Nets. Now that Roc Nation is looking to represent professional sports stars like Robinson Cano and Kevin Durant — and even a certain college superstar — the relationship between Jay-Z and Kidd has seemingly come full circle.

UPDATE: According to NetsDaily, Jay-Z is selling half of his shares to Kidd and the other half to one of the Nets’s current minority owners.

Jay-Z reportedly recruiting Jadeveon Clowney for Roc Nation Sports

Jadeveon-Clowney-Aaron-MurrayIt’s safe to assume that every young superstar athlete will at some point be recruited by Roc Nation Sports, if they haven’t already been contacted. The list has ranged from proven veterans like Robinson Cano to rookie sensations like Yasiel Puig, and a recent report says Jay-Z has turned his attention toward the best player in college football.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is expected to go somewhere within the first few picks of the 2014 NFL Draft. He is likely going to make a lot of money both on the field and off of it, which is why Roc Nation would love to represent him.

The potential problem that could arise from this is that Jay-Z is not yet a certified NFL agent. He is not allowed to have direct contact with college players, let alone “regular contact.” Current NFL agents will surely be looking for ways to thwart Jay-Z’s alleged efforts, and this could be one of them.

Jay-Z recently stated that he is a problem for sports agents, and for the most part he’s right. He boasted about taking Cano from Scott Boras in a rap song and is clearly looking to build an empire filled with star athletes. So far, he has found substantial success.

H/T Pro Football Zone

Jay-Z: I’m a problem for sports agents

Jay-ZJay-Z entered the sports agency business recently and has already had a big impact on the industry. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports partnered with Creative Arts Agency and already stole client Robinson Cano from Scott Boras, signed Kevin Durant, Skylar Diggins, and NFL players Victor Cruz and Geno Smith. Jay-Z even recently boasted about taking Cano from Boras in a rap song.

Hova’s presence in the sports agency business has caused some panic among agents, and the rap star/business mogul says that’s for good reason.

“So me coming, that’s a problem for [sports agents] because now they have to go to work,” Jay-Z told Power 105.1 during an interview this week. “Now they have to wake up. Now they have to do things. So they don’t want me to be around because now they have to do something for these athletes.

“And my whole thing is, for the most part, I’m going to do more for the athlete than they’re going to do for me, like, at the end of the day. But I do these because it’s an extension of the bigger goal. The bigger goal is for all artists to get their just due. Not to get half-assed agents or people who rob them, or people who don’t care about their finances. They don’t even care about them. That’s why those guys go broke in four years.”

Though Jay-Z talked about having a greater purpose for entering the sports agency business, he still recognizes that it is a business and he will be making money.

“Not that it’s all like this philanthropic thing. It’s a business as well. But, again, I’m going to contribute just as much or more to an athletes career than they can ever give me.”

Five clients in and business is just getting going for Jay-Z. He even became a certified NBA and MLB agent in June.

H/T Thunder Rumblings

Jay-Z reportedly wants to sign Yasiel Puig

Yasiel PuigJay-Z is building an empire with his new sports agency, and he is doing so by targeting some of the most marketable young superstars from across the country. Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig has been the most exciting player in baseball over the past month, so it only makes sense that Roc Nation Sports is supposedly wooing him.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported on Wednesday that Puig was invited to a party at a club Jay-Z owns last month after another Dodgers player gave Puig Jay-Z’s contact information. A source reportedly said that Puig left the meeting intrigued by the lifestyle and marketing plan Roc Nation Sports was offering. Puig is believed to be shopping around, but the possibility of him hiring Jay-Z’s crew remains.

[Related: Jay-Z takes shot at Scott Boras in new rap song]

Roc Nation Sports has moved quickly to sign some of the best athletes in the world, such as this New York Yankees slugger and this NFL wide receiver. People like Scott Boras and Drew Rosenhaus can pretend they don’t see Jay-Z’s new sports agency as a threat, but there’s no way they aren’t at least slightly concerned.

Passan also noted that Puig is not the only young Cuban MLB star Roc Nation Sports is interested in signing. Jay-Z also has his sights set on Oakland A’s star Yoenis Cespedes, who will be participating in the Home Run Derby in New York next week. Whether the agency has enough experience or not, Roc Nation Sports does not seem to be having any problems attracting high-profile clients.