A recent article in the New York Times explored how rapper Jay-Z has used his one-fifteenth ownership stake in the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets to further leverage himself as one of the world’s most influential entertainers. It has been public knowledge for the last few years that Jay is a minority owner in the franchise while Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov owns more than 80 percent of the team. There is only one word to define how someone who owns .067 percent of an NBA team became the primary face that the masses associate with the franchise. And that word is influence.
Jay-Z’s influence has given him the ability to become a key decision maker within the team. He is using the influence that he has on pop culture to change the landscape of sports ownership as we know it. The team’s board of directors has entrusted Mr. Carter with a number of key roles within the organization. Have you seen those spiffy new black and white jerseys that the Nets are going to wear next year? Well, Jay-Z chose the color scheme and reportedly designed the logo himself.
He isn’t just handling the team’s on court appearance, he has also taken control of some of the day to day off court operations as well as helping to create the best consumer experience for fans who come to the Barclays’ Center arena to see the team play. Jay is advising the executives on what music to play during the game and also how to screen patrons for weapons without being overly abrasive. And then there is the Jay-Z’s personal brand imprint on the team. During home games suite owners will be provided with Armand de Brignac (Ace of Spades) champagne, which Jay owns a part of. There will also be an extension of his 40/40 Club inside of the arena as well as a Rocawear store, which will sell his clothing line outside of the arena’s doors. Visitors who come to see the Nets play will not only be paying for a professional basketball game, they will also be paying for the Jay-Z experience.
While watching a team that was made for Brooklyn by Brooklyn you can also walk away with a piece of the borough’s golden boy. Born and raised in Brooklyn’s Marcy projects, Jay has done a complete 180 and moved from ‘fighting for blocks that made a killin’ to building in the boardroom. No longer struggling to survive on street corners instead of working a 9-5, he is now suited for success with an entrepreneurial spirit that is unmatched within the Hip Hop community.
Watching Jay-Z expand his portfolio exponentially by investing $1 million into an organization that is worth over $250 million just so he could have the opportunity to do something that has never been done before is eye opening to me. As the commercials for the NBA always say, THIS is where amazing happens.
As a father I see things a little differently than just watching an entertainer add to an already luxurious and grandeur lifestyle. I see a father who is leaving a legacy for his daughter to be proud of. Here you have a black male who was raised around some major adversity. His family was poor. His father abandoned him when he was only 11 years old, and left his mother Gloria Carter to raise him and his siblings on her own. A high school drop out who resorted to selling drugs in his Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood in order to make ends meet. He is living proof that anything is possible and circumstances in life can be totally turned around with hard work, dedication and perseverance.
Reading the article made me wonder what kind of legacy I am leaving for my own child. This isn’t about the material things that Jay-Z has accumulated, but more so about what he is doing to contribute to his own legacy. Children need role models to look up to, and the first people that they should admire should be their parents. As the father of a newborn it seems that Jay is even more motivated now to contribute to the culture of Hip Hop than ever before. His imprint will forever be on music, fashion, and entertainment. His accomplishments are set in stone, and there is not a person alive who can take those things away from him. And when he dies, the legacy of greatness that he has created will be passed along to his daughter. It is his accomplishments and contributions that are going to last for many years beyond the amount of time that he walks on this earth.
In the song “Diamonds Are Forever” Jay said that “Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week”, and I believe that this is the type of attitude that we as fathers need to have when it comes to leaving a legacy for the younger generation. We have to show them that fearfulness and anxiety have no dominion or power in our lives. If we want something we have to go and get it. The legacy that I want to leave for my child is one of greatness, and the ability to tackle any obstacle head on. The bible says in Proverbs 13:22 that “a wise man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children…” I don’t believe that this inheritance that we should leave for our future generations is only one of monetary value. I believe that this inheritance also consists of passing along valuable life lessons to the next generation. Our ancestors all passed down traditions and lessons. What are we doing to prepare the upcoming generation for their future?
In order to pass on a legacy of greatness, fathers have to stand up and abandon anything that reeks of mediocrity and below average behavior. We have to strive for excellence in whatever we do and show our children what it means to be great. We have to play a bigger role in their education by reinforcing the lessons that they are learning in school and evaluating them ourselves. We can’t just sit around and let someone else teach our children. Their education is our responsibility. We have to teach them about social responsibility. But in order to do this we must lead by example. The way that we conduct ourselves around our kids is the blueprint for the way that they will behave when they are not around us. Raising strong children who are morally, socially, and academically upstanding begins with us.
The good thing about our legacy is that it is never too late to start over. It’s never too late to do something that matters. There is always room for someone to make a difference. Chasing a dream will never not be an option.
As long as you have breath in your body, you have the option to create, enhance, or change your legacy. If you want your kids to remember you in a certain way, or if you want to accomplish something that you know they will be proud of I have three simple steps for you. Get up…Get Out…and Get It Done!