The Brooklyn Nets have their fair share of celebrity basketball fans. Rappers like 50 Cent and comedians like Amy Schumer have been pictured at games, as well as several other notable names. There’s no bigger celebrity presence for the franchise than its former owner and rap legend Jay Z.
In 2004, he invested $1 million in the New Jersey Nets. By the time he sold his share of the franchise in 2013, he saw a total return of $2.35 million, which combined his stake in the team as well as his ownership of the Barclays Center. He moved the franchise from Prudential Center in Newark to the new arena in Brooklyn in 2012.
According to Forbes, his investment saw “Warren Buffet-like” success.
Whether or not Jay-Z poured more money into the Nets beyond his initial investment, however, remains unclear. Assuming he did not, that would mean he turned $1 million into $2.35 million over the course of nine years, a gain of 135%. Over the same period of time, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A +0% stock has risen by about 85%.
And Jay-Z’s investment will continue to pay dividends–though he has confirmed the end of his career as a Nets co-owner, it appears he’ll hang on to his Barclays Center stake.
The current majority owners are Mikhail Prokhorov at 51 percent and Canadian-Taiwanese businessman Joseph Tsai at 49 percent. The two came to an agreement that Tsai will take over principal ownership by 2021, according to SB Nation.
With a $2.35 billion valuation, 49 percent would mean a price tag of $1.15 billion.
As part of the deal, Tsai can take control of the team in the 2021-22 season by exercising an option. That will give Mikhail Prokhorov three more years at the helm. Prokhorov bought 80 percent of the team in 2009, closing in 2010. He bought the remaining 20 percent two and a half years ago as well as the remaining stake in Barclays he did not own.
While Jay Z still owns a percentage of a percentage point on the Barclays Center, he is no longer allowed to own an NBA franchise due to his involvement in sports agency firm Roc Nation Sports. NBA rules dictate that you can’t be an agent and a team owner at the same time.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, he explained his reasoning for shifting his focus.
“Our newest endeavor is committed to building the brands of professional athletes as we have done for some of today’s top music artists,” Jay-Z wrote. “For Roc Nation Sports to function at its full potential, NBA rules stipulate that I relinquish my ownership in the Brooklyn Nets.”
He continued by saying that he’ll always be a fan of the Nets, the team that he brought to Brooklyn from New Jersey and placed in his hometown borough.
“It was never about an investment; it was about the Nets and Brooklyn. My job as an owner is over but as a fan it has just begun,” Jay-Z said to Rolling Stone in 2013. “A thank you and deepest appreciation goes to the fans. You are the lifeblood of any team.”
In addition, he spends the majority of his time in Los Angeles with his wife Beyonce and his daughter Blue Ivy. That separation from Brooklyn is also likely a factor in him not being able to fully focus on ownership.
He know gets to watch them in the Eastern Conference 1st Round against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers lead 2-1 with a game Saturday in Brooklyn.