Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hova's Witness?

"Get used to it, bitches."
...“Basketball is the right thing for Brooklyn now,” Ratner says firmly. “Just as baseball was the right thing when the Dodgers started up more than a century ago.”

This is the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets that Ratner, the president of Forest City Ratner Companies, has in mind—or, soon, if Ratner has his way, the Brooklyn Nets. The team would play its home games in a spectacular arena designed by Frank Gehry, the architect who created the enviable Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. This arena would rise from a platform constructed over the Long Island Rail Road yards on Atlantic Avenue, a short stroll from the late-night halal chicken joints favored by Syrian gypsy cabbies...

...At some point soon, “New Brooklyn” may indeed need a cheerleader, a Trump all its own. But it won’t be Bruce Ratner. “That’s the last thing I’d want to do,” he says a bit awkwardly. “It’s not my nature, and at the end of the day, I’m a real-estate developer.”...

... The Bloomberg administration is feverishly pushing the interagency Downtown Brooklyn Development Plan, which would rezone significant swaths of the city’s commercial quarters, mostly around Fulton Mall, to accommodate as many as ten Manhattan-style commercial skyscrapers, plus new parks and housing. All of this could—should—happen over the next ten years, Burden says. The idea is to “knit” together all of Brooklyn’s isolated assets—from the hip bistros of Smith Street to the design studios in Williamsburg to the ever-expanding bam to the ambitious waterfront parks planned to stretch from Brooklyn Heights to Greenpoint—into a cohesive bloc. “This is an absolutely huge priority,” Burden says. “Downtown Brooklyn is a key element of the administration’s citywide economic-development strategy. The city is very prepared in order to attract this growth, and we are willing to invest scarce public dollars and public open space to catalyze this growth.”

Ratner figures to be a serious player in this redevelopment. Adjacent to a new arena, Ratner plans to build a $2 billion, 21-acre development featuring both retail and office space and some 5,500 units of housing, which he says will come in various-size buildings and serve various income levels....

...Borough President Marty Markowitz is as Old Brooklyn in manner as a Junior’s egg cream, but he lights up when talk turns to the New Brooklyn Nets. “Brooklyn is the only location that works for the Nets,” enthuses Markowitz. “They left Long Island for a reason. They wouldn’t even be thinking about New Jersey if they realized that the natural fan base is here. All we can do is hope. Football, we don’t have room for an 80,000-seat stadium. Baseball, the Mets and the Yankees have complete veto power over a third team in New York City. The only sport is basketball. If we don’t get this team, the next time this comes around probably will not be in our lifetime.”

Black Enterprise, Jan. 23 '04-
Prior to teaming with Ratner, Carter retained an investment bank to explore the possibility of putting in a bid for the team. Later, the two decided they'd both stand to benefit if they worked together. Carter officially joined Ratner's investment group in early December as a minority shareholder, though the amount of his financial stake has not been released.

Brooklyn-born Carter, CEO of the multimillion-dollar Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc-A-Wear clothing line, who also owns Armadale Vodka and the 40/40 sports bar/restaurant in New York City, looks forward to the new team. Although he never got a chance to experience the Dodgers, he says "This is the new Dodgers. It's the Nets… I look forward to bringing prosperity and bringing pride [to Brooklyn].”

MTV News, Jun. 23 '05-

Jay says James' inclusion in the shoot is just a show of solidarity between chums and nothing more — especially not a business relationship.

"It's absolutely no Def Jam Sports or anything like that," Jay says, quashing a rumor that he might be managing LeBron. "No tampering going on; just a good friend of mine. He's been a friend since before he was in the NBA. If you look back on the tapes, I'm there at the McDonald's High School [All-American] games, supporting him. We're just friends, we have no business dealings at all. I can't do it because I have an interest: I sit on the board of the [New Jersey] Nets. It's a conflict."

Jay also clarified that LeBron will not be signing to the Roc as a rapper or, for that matter, rhyming at all: The superstar is sticking to the court. "I want him to be the greatest," Jay says. "My job is to keep him focused, not to take him outside of his arena."

True Hoop via S.I., Apr. 21, '06-
A little tampering, or so it would seem, from Nets owner Jay-Z: "'I tell people all the time, he's my friend first. If Cleveland is building a championship team around him, then my advice is to stay there. If it's the Nets who are building a championship team that could be around him, then my advice is to come to the Nets.'"

The Star Ledger, May 23, '06-
And most of it is based on educated guesses -- his friendship with Jay-Z, the fact that Aaron Goodwin had the foresight to negotiate increases from Nike, Coke, etc., if LBJ plays in one of the top three markets, and LBJ’s mindset after losing a tough series. The question(s) we have are these: 1) Is Jersey considered a top 3 market? Nike might not think so, considering the number of people who come to Nets games – and they’re not moving into Brooklyn for another two years after LBJ’s free agent summer of ’07. 2) He better be happy with that Nike raise, because he might have to play for peanuts for a year, because there’s no guarantee the Cavs would be feeling cooperative enough to consent to a sign-and-trade. 3) And finally, you have to wonder whether he’s daring enough to make such a crucial basketball decision based on a few million extra bucks of endorsement income, because such a move would destroy his overly-contrived image with the public, which would hate his guts -- especially in his own hometown. Anyway, here’s the bottom line: Come July 1, when the sting of the postseason loss wears off, he’ll announce that he’ll sign an extension with the Cavs. In the meantime, the league wants Jay-Z to know that if he continues to flaunt his friendship with the kid in Sports Illustrated, that constitutes tampering, and they told him that future attempts should be less brazen and amateurish.

Bron only re-upped for three more years with an option on the fourth in 2010. The Nets will be in Brooklyn by then, with a team option on two of only four contracts currently on the books for that year. Who threw the biggest party this past All Star Weekend? Together? Stern didn't want to get in the picture and make it too obvious, but why wouldn't he want the future of the league in New York with the prevailing culture's most media friendly mogul? Who else is going to fill that arena? Why else would Stern ignore what's obviously tampering? This is going to happen.

"Tonight we're gonna party like it's, 2010?"

P.S. Couple more quick questions. Has Jay been planning this from the very begining? How long until Bron has the upper hand in this relationship? The only folks who age faster than NBA centers are rappers.